Tag Archives: Washington Redskins

The Redskins were a 1980s English “socialist punk band”

The Redskins, a 1980s English socialist rock band

Just a quickie…a few years ago, I was looking for something in Google images and I happened upon the above graphic. I had no idea that The Redskins was a socialist punk band in England. I filed it away in mind in case the Washington-ish NFL team ever played in England. This week they are!

If you are interested in socialist punk rock from the 1980s (and who is/isn’t?) you may want to check out The Socialist Skinhead Soul of the Redskins. They had an album called Neither Washington nor Moscow which amuses me.

If there was ever a D.C. Sports Bog post that Dan Steinberg was destined to write…

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Nationals Park, from section 117

Nats enter postseason with 95 wins, questions

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Sunday’s regular season finale at Nationals Park ended with the Washington Nationals winning their 95th game of the season, 10-7. They defeated the grieving Miami Marlins who, to their credit, didn’t fold when they went down 3-0, 5-2 or 8-5.

Max Scherzer, DC’s #1 starter was strong at the plate with 2 hits and 4 RBI (according to one source, giving him a 9-8 lead over Ryan Zimmerman in the second half) but uninspiring on the mound and basepaths. Nonetheless, he got the his 20th win when his teammates scored after his 5th inning exit. He should be on the mound on Friday for the first game of the Division Series with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Trea Turner and Danny Espinosa both walked twice, the latter being a damning piece of evidence against a pitcher going to arbitration. Bryce Harper looked injured, but still crush a 99 MPH fastball early and foul to right. Daniel Murphy also pinch hit, but recorded an out and eliminating him from the NL batting title. His health will be huge moving forward.

I predicted the Nats would win 90 games and be in contention for the division. They won it and I was off by 5. The New York Mets won 87 games, despite losing much of their rotation to injuries. They are in the play-in game against San Francisco.

Errata

Wait, why didn’t anybody tell me Vin Scully retired?! I kid of course, but seldom-mentioned in the ubiquitous Scully retirement coverage was that his first radio job was for WTOP in D.C.

DC vs. LA Playoff history

You know how previous results have no bearing on what comes next? Let’s expand upon that by bringing in completely different sports for an all-time intercity/intersport matchup! While Washington and Los Angeles have never met in the baseball postseason, they have in two different kinds of football.

1974

Sonny Jurgensen’s only playoff game is his final game, throwing 3 interceptions while splitting time with Billy Kilmer. The Redskins fell to the Rams, 19-10, at the Coliseum. There used to be clips of it on youtube, but not anymore – probably for the best.

1984

After a 14-2 regular 1983 season, the Skins easily crushed the Rams 51-7 (there was youtube video of this game within the last two months too) at RFK Stadium in the divisional round of the NFC playoffs…

…three weeks later though, they were upset by the Los Angeles Raiders (two years removed from Oakland) in Super Bowl XVIII at Tampa Stadium, 38-9, and it wasn’t that close. I won’t find the video.

1986

After a 10-6 regular season, the Redskins defeated the Rams again at RFK Stadium, 19-7, this time in the Wild Card, the final playoff gridiron meeting between DC and LA for now.

1996

The inaugural MLS Cup us won by D.C. United, coming back from an 0-2 deficit to the Los Angeles Galaxy at Foxboro Stadium. Eddie Pope won it with a header in sudden-death overtime.

1999

In their fourth MLS Cup appearance D.C. United won their third championship, this time 2-1 over L.A., again at Foxboro Stadium.

On uniforms

Don’t forget — The guy in the red shirt always dies!

Nationals – please, wear the home whites and road grays.

Prediction

Dodgers over the Nats. If Stephen Strasburg was healthy, I’d say the Nats take it. He’s not and I don’t trust Gio Gonzales, even against a lefty-heavy LA lineup. That leaves Tanner Roark and possibly Joe Ross along with Scherzer, who will be head to head with Clayton Kershaw. Injuries to Daniel Murphy (we are praying for his buttocks and his family), Bryce Harper (undisclosed) and Wilson Ramos (out) are too much to overcome.

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Arsenio Hall, remember him? He's a Cleveland Browns fan, just like Vince Guerrieri.

2016 Washington Redskins vs. Cleveland Browns Q&A and prediction with Vince Guerrieri

The best free lance writer in Ohio1, editor and raconteur, Vince Guerrieri (not pictured)2 returns to talk about Cleveland sports. He stopped by this summer to talk about the Tribe (look for a mention at the end) as well as twice in 2012 to talk baseball and football. The Youngstown native is the author of Ohio Sports Trivia and The Blue Streaks and Little Giants: More Than a Century of Sandusky and Fremont Ross Football, a contributor to Belt Magazine and Tim Russert’s Wisdom of Our Fathers. Vince’s Facebook banner image:

License plate that says "WHY GOD" because, Cleveland Browns

WFY: Let’s just start off with this passage from our last football Q&A in 2012:

WFY: Do you find yourself thinking “oh, what might have been” with Robert Griffin III, drafted one spot before the Browns pick?

VG: Eh, a little, but I can’t find a whole lot of fault with Trent Richardson, who they got with the third overall pick. He’s a beast of a runner, and has good hands out of the backfield as well. I wasn’t entirely sold on the idea that Colt McCoy wasn’t the answer at quarterback, and really wasn’t happy the Browns burned a first-round pick on a 29-year-old. But Brandon Weeden’s arm strength – the main difference between him and Colt McCoy – has proven particularly valuable, as he’s thrown five long touchdown passes to Josh Gordon.

We were so young…

VG: Yeah we were.

Weeden still has decent arm strength, but that was never his problem. Mike Polk Jr.’s lasting contribution to being a Cleveland sports fan is the term “Factory of Sadness,” but I think his most insightful comment came here where he said Brandon Weeden was already staring down his receiver for the next week’s game (it’s true; I watched him do it in person). From there, we went to the Johnny Manziel experiment (my words at the time: It makes them more interesting, not better. Manziel actually got drafted with the pick they got from the Colts for Trent Richardson. I think that’s the definition of a Pyhrric victory. Now, we finally have RGIII, and I’m kind of thrilled about that, because at one point, there were rumors they’d deal for Colin Kaepernick (which would have been a complete fiasco).

Gordon will come back in Game 5. He’ll be the other player coming off a four-game suspension in that game (the Browns host the Patriots).

WFY: The Browns come into this game 0-3 which feels a lot worse than 1-2. They were in at least two of the games, from what I understand.

VG: Yeah, the Eagles thumped the Browns, thanks to Carson Wentz, who was taken with a draft pick the Browns traded to the Eagles. Admittedly, the Browns got a lot of draft picks from that deal, and who knows what they’ll turn into, but in the short term, it looks like the Browns completely screwed the pooch on that deal.

Then the Browns went up 20-0 to the Ravens before losing 25-20, and Josh McCown broke his collarbone, leading us to the Cody Kessler era earlier than anticipated. (True stat: Kessler was the fifth different quarterback in as many regular-season games used by the Browns.) Hue Jackson asked fans to trust him with that pick, and Kessler acquitted himself reasonably well against the Dolphins last week, but Cody Parkey, the kicker they signed off the street before the game, went 3-6, including shanking a potential game-winner before the Browns lost in overtime.

WFY: Apparently, Terrelle Pryor is the whole team right now which is interesting. I know that rookie Carl Nassib is also injured which is too bad, because he turned into an excellent defensive lineman at my alma mater. Are there enough healthy bodies on either side of the ball to be competitive this week? The Skins are not great, barely winning by two at the Meadowlands last week. I guess I’m putting in the prediction early in the Q&A.

VG: Pryor’s been a bright spot for the team sorely in need of one. He came to camp last year, made it through camp and then got cut to make room for an injured back-up running back claimed from Seattle (one of the reasons last year’s management is no longer with the team). They brought Pryor back late in the season, and he’s gone through another training camp and is starting to come into his own as a receiver — among other things. Last week, he had a game you really haven’t seen from a player since the 1950s, catching passes, throwing passes and even some rushing.

Nassib was one of those draft picks that everyone had high hopes for. The Browns have some success hitting on late-round picks and undrafted free agents. The trouble’s with top picks (there is a four-year span where none of the Browns first-round picks are with the team — and some aren’t even in the league). And Nassib did look good until he broke his hand. We’re all kind of hoping he gets back quickly.

There isn’t a lot of depth, and there isn’t a lot of talent. But the team’s showing improvement week-to-week. That said, I really think 0-16 is a legitimate possibility in Cleveland this year, so I imagine the Browns will find some way to not get out of their own way and lose 28-24.

WFY: Generally speaking, it’s been downhill since German investors Hans and Fritz were unable to buy the Browns after a bad power plant deal in 1991. Are things picking up under owner Jimmy Haslam?

VG: Jimmy Haslam’s taken a team that was a laughingstock of the league and made it WORSE, which is kind of impressive when you think about it.

But he’s making money hand over fist. Everything he’s done makes sense if you look at it as increasing the value of an undervalued asset. Since he’s bought the team, he’s

– raised ticket prices
– renovated the stadium (at taxpayer expense)
– changed the uniforms (we’ll get to that in a minute)
– added a drumline
– added more mascots

and done a host of things to improve the “fan experience.” The team? Not so much. He’s fired three head coaches and as many front offices. The team is terrible and the best-case scenario is that it will be for another two years after that.

And that’s the reckoning that had to happen. For the past five years, Browns fans have been conned or deluded themselves into believing that the team was only a couple pieces away, and a lot of people bit on that when they were 7-4 and leading the division in November 2014. But that was a mirage. A complete teardown is needed, and fans, unsurprisingly, are unhappy.

The good news is that for the first time probably since they hired Romeo Crennel, the Browns hired a coach that appeared to be in demand. Hue Jackson was well-respected as a coordinator and in a brief stint as a head coach, and was legitimately fielding other offers. Mike Pettine — whom I liked — was a desperation heave after the Browns threw Rob Chudzinski over the side — and he’d only been the coach for a year.

WFY: For all the turmoil inflicted on Cleveland fans, at least the Browns uniforms were classic, but not now, they’ve messed that up. I like the brown facemasks, but otherwise, just too much orange, even on the brown jerseys. The CLEVELAND on the jerseys are even okay, but TOO MUCH ORANGE overall. Are they just going to scrap them at the next possible opportunity and go back to the classic Browns look?
Cleveland Browns
Why would you mess this up, Haslam?

VG: Again, the uniform change makes sense when you’re looking at it as increasing value. That summer, Joe Haden had the top-selling jersey in the league — and the move was almost universally reviled. Before the new uniforms were released, the logo was changed, going to an almost traffic cone orange. (the joke in Cleveland is “the orange is oranger,” and you can even buy shirts to that effect: . The Orange Is Oranger – Unisex Crew

Johnny Manziel

The earliest the Browns can change the uniforms is 2019, per NFL rules. I’d be kind of surprised if they didn’t change it back to something resembling what it was before.

WFY: The Warriors blew a 3-1 lead.

VG: They certainly did. That will never get old. I might get it engraved on my tombstone.

WFY: You are in a mixed-marriage and your daughter is probably getting to be the age where, if she’s interested, she might be ready to choose a team. Is it looking Steelers or Browns? Are Steelers fans becoming more numerous in your hometown of Youngstown?

VG: I took her to Browns training camp this year (shoutout to my buddy Crin, who wanted to go), and she’s started asking me if we’re going to watch the Browns. There’s a part of me that’s kind of proud, but there’s a part of me that says to myself, “Oh, God, what have I done?”

My primary concern is that she’ll become a Bengals fan because of my father, the only Bengals fan in Trumbull County. He’s got a stuffed football that yells “TOUCHDOWN BENGALS!!” and Sammy has been known to do the same unprompted.

One of my Pittsburgh friends saw a picture we took in a Youngstown bar (the Draught House, as seen on A&E’s “City Confidential”) and was kind of amazed that there were Browns and Steelers paraphernalia on the walls. It’s like a demilitarized zone between the two cities — and there’s definitely a Steelers edge. How could there not be? The Browns don’t give a whole lot of people reason to root for them.

WFY: I almost forgot, but there was a Kevin Costner movie about the Browns, Draft Day, right? How does it stack up against other Browns pop culture appearances, like The Fortune Cookie? For the record, I have seen neither movie. I also didn’t see The Cleveland Show which I assume was overrated, just like Family Guy.

VG: Well, “The Fortune Cookie” at least won an Oscar for Walter Matthau. “Draft Day” was an enjoyable escape, but it won’t win any Oscars. My favorite moment in the movie comes at the beginning, when the Seahawks front office (it was supposed to be the Jets, but the team declined) was talking about dealing the top overall draft pick. They need to find someone who will overpay, someone who’s desperate. Those are almost the exact words. And then it cuts to an aerial shot of beautiful downtown Cleveland.

WFY: What’s keeping you spending your Sundays watching the Browns, in person, on TV, etc.?

VG: Morbid curiosity. The Browns keep coming up with creative ways to lose. I said there’s a part of me that wants to see a Trump presidency, and it’s the same part that keeps me watching the Browns. I know it’ll be a disaster, but I want to see how.

WFY: Lightning round: Greatest 21st century Brown? Best beer you can get in the stadium (FWIW, I think Great Lakes Oktoberfest is the best beer I’ve ever drank). Anything you want to say to the Ravens guest prognosticator I might have next week? Is Bernie Kosar in the team’s good graces again? Is 2 the least respectable number a QB can wear?

VG: Joe Thomas. Pretty much any Great Lakes selection. Art Modell fired Paul Brown, Marty Schottenheimer and Bill Belichick, AND went broke with NFL teams in Cleveland and Baltimore. He’s not a Hall of Famer. Bernie’s sort of in the team’s good graces, but they’ve really mended fences with Jim Brown. I think Johnny Manziel was going to tarnish whatever number he was given.

WFY: Let’s finish up with a more pleasant topic –baseball. How do you think the Tribe are going to do in the postseason? What about the Nats (I’m saying eliminated in 4, too many injuries)?

VG: I’m not feeling anywhere near as good as I was a couple weeks ago about the Tribe’s chances. The starting rotation — which was supposed to be the team’s biggest strength — is decimated. Ace Corey Kluber’s injured and out for the rest of the regular season. Carlos Carrasco broke his hand and is done for the year. Josh Tomlin went through a stretch where he looked like a batting practice pitcher. Best-case scenario for Danny Salazar is that he’s available out of the bullpen in the ALDS.

They’ve won the division, and I think they can win at least one playoff series, but probably not much more. Of course, I thought the Cavs were dead and buried after Game 4 of the NBA Finals, so I’m more than willing to be wrong…

12016 Ohio SPJ Awards winners

2Arsenio Hall everyone!

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Carl from Aqua Teen Hunger Force, not to be confursed with guest prognosticator, Brad

2016 Redskins vs. New York Football Giants prediction with my friend Brad

My friend Brad Stratton (not pictured), a sportswriter turned educator, is back for some more guest prognosticating about his beloved New Yorker Football Giants who play the Washington Redskins this weekend in our native New Jersey.

WFY: Everything was lined up for the 2015 New York Football Giants. They were 5-5 coming out of the bye in a mediocre NFC East and in position to sneak into the playoffs, run the table and win the Super Bowl like they had 4 and 8 years earlier, respectively. Yet, they failed to do so, seemingly in defiance of the social contract. The New England Patriots must have been thrown off, because they couldn’t even beat the other Manning QB to advance to the Super Bowl. What went wrong?

BMS: The Giants’ defense was bad last year. They were 32nd in yards allowed, 32nd in passing yards allowed, and 30th in points allowed. Our pass rush was as nonexistent as you can get. In fact, our “savior” on defense returned in midseason with only eight and a half fingers. Yet if their games ended 75 seconds earlier last year, they would have been 11-5. The offense was Top 10, but the defense couldn’t hold a lead.

WFY: Big Blue is undefeated having beaten Dallas and New Orleans. How have they looked so far? Might Ben McAddo not be the next Ray Handley? How is Eli Manning doing with both Victor Cruz and Odell Beckham?

BMS: The front office poured a ton of money into the defense over the offseason, bringing in DE Olivier Vernon, DT Damon Harrison, and CB Janoris Jenkins from the Dolphins, Jets, and Rams, respectively. Pierce-Paul’s hand has healed enough to wear a special glove, so they gave him $10 million in a one-year deal. And those investments have, so far, paid off. There is a legitimate pass rush. The secondary is being left out to fend for themselves. The run defense has been outstanding. The Cowboys’ offensive line might be the best in football, but highly-touted rookie Ezekiel Elliott only averaged 2.55 yards a carry. Last week, the Saints only managed 41 yards rushing.

Definitely, one of the feel good stories so far has been the return of Victor Cruz. He hadn’t played since.Week 8 of the 2013 season, when he torn his patella tendon (imagine your knee cap going into your thigh). Last season, he struggled with a persistent calf injury that kept him sidelined all year, and on top of that, he’s about to turn 30. The odds were he might be done, and when he dealt with a groin issue during training camp, it looked that way. But he had the winning touchdown catch against Dallas, and made a huge sideline catch against New Orleans that set up the winning field goal.

And no, I would not compare McAdoo to He Who Must Not Be Named. McAdoo has been running the offense for two years, and running it well. You Know Who looked like an incompetent accountant.

WFY: How much are you looking forward to Beckham vs. Josh Norman?

BMS: Beckham is interesting. He’s played fairly well, but nothing like what we’re used to. One play before Cruz’s big catch against the Saints, he dropped an easy touchdown catch. He hasn’t found the end zone yet. His yards after the catch haven’t really been there. And then he’s got Josh Norman this weekend. I don’t think they will get as animated as last year, but Norman has proved able to get inside Beckham’s head, so we’ll see.

WFY: Now onto something important, uniforms. White pants and white shoes at home? Ugh. If they are going that direction, better go all the way and drop the gray striping and gray facemask too. On the other hand, the Color Rash uniforms are basically 1980s whites (sans blue socks) and GIANTS on the helmet and you seem pretty excited about it. Do you want want them to dump the gray completely? I love the current roadies.

BMS: I am beyond elated that the color rush jerseys are essentially the 1980s uniforms. For a while, the word out of the Giants was that we would never see the old GIANTS helmets again. Instead we got the ugly red jerseys, and I was frankly worried about what the color rush jerseys would look like. For the regular uniforms, I’m indifferent about white vs. gray pants. I like both.

WFY: Have you seen the Timeline episode, Jersey Guys? Being a Jersey Guy, did you enjoy it? Have you talked to older Jersey Guys, who were around when the move happened about it? I have seen bits and pieces of it (hasn’t made it to youtube in its entirety) and enjoyed what I saw.

BMS: I have only seen a little bit of Jersey Guys. We got rid of cable back in December, so I wasn’t able to see it the first time. I did manage to see some of Jersey Guys on the net on Monday night, but it was on late and I fell asleep in the middle. It was a dick move by Ed Koch to not let the Giants go down the Canyon of Heroes in ’87 (editor’s note: Brad did finally get to a ticker tape parade in 1999 for the Yankees. Sort of). I did enjoy A Football Life: Bill Parcells.

WFY: I’m skeptical the burgundy and gold can put it together and beat a good team having been dominated by Sam’s Steelers (at home) and losing to Dallas. I’m going with Giants 24-17, what about you? I also think the Giants should take the division and I’m not saying this to jinx you.

BMS: While the Giants are 2-0, we don’t quite know how good they are so far. They ran effectively against Dallas, but were pretty ineffective against New Orleans. They dominated the Saints, but won with a last second field goal because they were their own worst enemy (three fumbles, a missed field goal, a failed fourth and goal, and drive killing penalties). Marshall Newhouse graded out at the best offensive lineman in the league in Week 1, but looked lost at times in Week 2 (he is out for Sunday).

As for Washington, they are a desperate team. Even at 0-2, a win on Sunday and the Browns in Week 4 could put them at a manageable 2-2. But 0-3, with two losses in the division, that’s the stuff that murders your season early. Look for who is able to get off to the quick start on Sunday. If it’s the Redskins, all the doubt could creep away and they could have a good shot in this one. But if the Giants start strong, that could be the nudge Washington needs to go from desperate to careless.

I’ll agree with your score. 24-17 Giants, but 24-17 Redskins wouldn’t surprise me.

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