Browsing all articles tagged with Shaun Suisham
Sep
21

When Fans Boo (Why, Player Perspectives, and My Opinion)

The Washington Redskins beat the St. Louis Rams today at home, 9-7.  But you wouldn’t have known it by the sounds of fans.  The Skins were booed multiple times in their win against the Rams.  There were three times in particular the booing stood out.  Once was before halftime when they were down 7-6.  Another was when Zorn called a conservative running play on third down when the team was when backed up near their own end zone.  The last and most telling time was in the closing seconds of the game as Campbell kneeled to run out the clock.  It’s not often teams get booed when they win, so what the heck is going on?

Why The Fans Booed

  • Expectations were high for today’s game. The Skins were favored by 14 by some and the Rams seemed like a perfect opponent to get into an offensive groove.  The Rams last week lost to the Seattle Seahawks 28-0.  Of course, even with Matt Hasselbeck back, the Seahawks are not an offensive juggernaut.  Surely, the Skins could put the points on the board after playing a suffocating Giants D last week, right?
    • The fans weren’t the only ones who thought this game would be different.  One of the best analysts of the NFC East, Matt Mosley with the NFC East Blog on Espn.com wrote in his NFC East: Final Word:

Santana Moss is about to go off on the Rams: There, I said it. I think Jim Zorn will take more shots downfield, in part, because Jason Campbell should have more time against the Rams’ front four…But the Redskins will roll in this game. Clinton Portis goes for 115 yards and a touchdown and Moss goes for six catches for 127 yards. Trust me on this stuff.

  • Last year’s loss to St. Louis is still fresh. The Redskins were on a roll last year before the talented but poorly executing Rams surprised the Skins at home.  Along with the Cincinnati Bengals, the Rams game was one of the “should have won games” that  could have put the Skins in the playoffs.
  • Coach Jim Zorn’s play calling has been blamed for the offensive drought.  The fans aren’t the only ones voicing concerns.  Mike Wise of the Washington Post, wrote last week that Zorn’s trick FG play was an act of desperation.  Sonny Jurgenson also supposedly called out Zorn on the 4th and short play where Portis followed Sellers to nowhere and was stopped.
  • You don’t go to FedEx Field to cheer on Shaun Suisham.  Okay, maybe there are a few of you out there.  But you go to see Moss, Portis, Campbell and Cooley score touchdowns.

What the Players Thought of Being Booed

Dan Steinberg of Washington Post’s DC Sports Bog had some great quotes in his piece, “So is it really time to boo the Skins?” Here are some highlights:

Chris Cooley: ”You take a win when you can get it. And there’s a lot of good players, and there’s a lot of good teams in this league. I think Washington prides themselves on being the best fans, and I think that they should try to be the best fans. We won. I understand they wanted us to beat the Rams by 40, but we still won, and we if we continue to win games, that’s great. Booing’s unnecessary.”

Antwaan Randle El: “We appreciate them, and everyone has freedom of choice,” Antwaan Randle El said, “but for us as a team, we play better when you don’t [boo].”

My favorite was really Fred Smoot and Steinberg’s conversation:

“They’re the fans; if they want to boo, let them boo,” Fred Smoot said. “They should have booed.”  I asked why he thought fans should boo; “because they wanted to,” Smoot said. “You can’t control them, you can just control what we did on the field.”

My least favorite: Redskins Linebacker Robert Henson from his twitter account: “The question is who are you to say you know what’s best for the team and you work 9 to 5 at Mcdonalds.”

(Agents, do you know where your clients are?  Here’s a hint to Henson: don’t try and apologize or defend yourself to everyone.  Put up a tweet or two to everyone and call it a night, let it blow over!)

Why I Wouldn’t Have Booed

  • We won.  Yes it was ugly.  Yes, Zorn could have called some better plays.  Sellers dropped a TD pass, as did Devin Thomas on plays called by Zorn.  But we’re tied in the NFC East after the Eagles and Cowboys lost today.
  • This is DC (or the DMV if you prefer), not Philly.  I hate to say it but who else boos their team when they win?  Philadelphia Eagles fans are known as being some of the most critical fans in sports. However, Redskins fans have a tradition of being the most loyal fans in the NFL and all of sports.  The fan base has taken a toll in recent years due to ticket prices, sparse playoff appearances and free agent acquisitions that  have only teased it.  What a drop off from the rocking days of RFK?  Let’s not pull a Philly here and boo a winning team at home.
  • There should be an advantage to being at home. Why not cheer for them and not against them?  Having one of the largest stadiums in the NFL should haunt the visiting team, not the Redskins.
  • This is a dangerous precedent. I kind of understand the booing at half time, but after the game is over when you win?  Is there a certain point differential you need to have to not get booed?  Do you boo through the third quarter if they are still losing?  Often the fans can be instrumental in shifting the momentum between teams.  It can provide the energy or optimism players can use as that “spark” to do things like this.

What Washington Sportsjam Twitter Followers think:

nunyabeeI think the final score & the fact that we didnt destroy the Rams irritated the entire fanbase 2day. I dont see any improvement

nunyabee@dcsportsjam I personally dont & didnt boo but I cant really blame the fans that did. We need 2 c a better product on the field IMO.

WithAView@dcsportsjam Maybe I’M a “blind homer”but booing like a Philly crowd doesn’t make a “12th man”. Not telling them anything they don’t know.

jbeardsley@dcsportsjam My take – fan frustration at playcalling, poor execution, owner and playing down to lesser teams. For years. Not player focused

dcborn61@dcsportsjam players, coaches are professionals. Getting public feedback goes with the territory. Fans would much rather cheer

Other follower tweets:

Hensen, who isn’t on the 53, should practice hard and keep his mouth shut. When he produces on the field, he can talk.

Maybe I’M a “blind homer”but booing like a Philly crowd doesn’t make a “12th man”. Not telling them anything they don’t know.

What Do You Think?

Do the Skins deserve to be booed?  Does it matter?  What do you think about Robert Henson’s idea that those that booed are fake fans and haters?


Sep
3

Skins vs. Jags preview

Well, there’s quite a bit going on right now with the Skins.  Let’s see we’ve got

  • the Washington Post exposé on ticket sales to brokers

    • Jason LaCanfora contributed to this article.  I kind of get the feeling his mood towards helping out with this article would be… I don’t know, ecstatic?  You remember the “tampering” debacle right?  Check out The Player Hater’s Ball for a completely logical and agreeable take on that situation.
  • the WaPo piece on Skins suing grandmother’s (and others) who can’t pay their season tickets.  I know it’s sad, but these folks need to get representation for the breach of contract claim by the Skins.  Reading this article, it sounded like a lot of these six year deals sound sketchy.  When you are getting sued: GET A LAWYER.  And yes, I know many can’t afford one, there are attorneys who will take some of these cases pro-bono.  
  • Dan Snyder is rated as the 8th best owner in the league by Yahoo! Sports.
  • Marcus Mason won’t be picking up the phone when it comes time for roster cuts (nice article by Mike Wise)

Oh yeah and we’ve got the last preseason game against the Jaguars!

Clearly tonight’s main focus is going to be on the performance of backup quarterback wannabes Chase Daniel and Colt Brennan.  Jason Campbell is expected to play a series or two and Todd Collins isn’t going to playing at all.  Brennan is probably behind in this battle because of his interceptions in the red zone (and last week on the goal line that ended in a touchdown for the Pats).  Chase Daniel did well in his limited time when he played two games ago.  

So, what are you looking for if you’re Jim Zorn or the Skins coaching staff?  I would say these four keys are the best way to analyze this qb position.  I’ll grade Colt and Chase on these factors tonight:

Athleticism- Daniel has shown his ability to scramble for first downs and make tough throws this preseason, but Colt has also shown his moxie for eluding the pass rush while working with the 2nd and 3rd team units.  This is important considering the OL’s penchant for injuries and the uncertainty of Vinny Cerrato’s willingness to build this unit through the draft.

Accuracy- Clearly Chase Daniel’s stats are more impressive thus far than Colt’s, but we’ll see how they match up during the course of an almost entire game.

Decision-making- This has been Colt’s downfall so far this season.  Forcing passes he may have made last preseason have turned out as interceptions this year.  Taking a sack on third down that pushes Suisham’s ever decreasing range is also not going to help him win this spot.  Look for passes thrown away if receivers are too well covered.  I know it’s not pretty and may end up like Campbell’s 1 for 7 against Pittsburgh, but that’s probably better than a pick 6 for these two qb’s to get a spot.

Coachability/Adaptability- This one will probably not be able to analyzed that much from the game.  But here’s the situation, obviously Collins goes into the game if ever something happens to Campbell.  Colt or Chase are unlikely to see the field this year in the regular season unless calamity  or conscientious development occurs.  That means that the coaches are looking for someone to groom and develop in the Zorn system.  Colt/Chase doesn’t need to have everything sorted at this point, but must be able to have the above mentioned 3 factors plus the patience and humility to be “coached up” (sorry for the Spurrier phrase).  Colt appears to be making strides toward this direction after previously being thought of as having too much “swagger” (personally, I don’t like how Reid classifies it as swagger.  I mean really can one have too much swag?  No, it’s impossible. Swag does not equal arrogance.  Swag=confidence.)

Also Look For…

Marcus Mason or Aldridge to make plays and force the coaches to figure out a way to keep them.

A Punt Returner who gets more than 6 yards.

Marko Mitchell to close out a stellar preseason and work his way into the lineup (possibly supplanting Thomas as the number 4 eventually?  Yeah, I said it!).

How BIG MIKE WILLIAMS performs tonight, playing in his first preseason game (finally!  I am excited to see him play though, for real.)

Your Thoughts

What will you be looking for tonight from the Skins?

Who do you think will be the Skins backup QB behind Collins? Are you a member of Church of Chase or the Cult of Colt?

 

ALSO DON’T FORGET WE’RE ON TWITTER: http://twitter.com/dcsportsjam

Aug
27

Steelers vs. Skins Notes and Training Camp News

On Saturday night the Skins beat the Steelers, 17-13.  The starting offense scored a field goal with a Shaun Suisham chip shot while Chase Daniel threw two TD passes.  Here are some things I noticed from the second preseason game, broken down per unit:

Starting Offensive Unit-   The sky might not be falling after all.  The offensive line was impressive in their time on the field for the second consecutive preseason matchup.  While there probably has been less game-planning by their opponents, the Skins have faced two of the top defensive teams in the league and Campbell has yet to feel major pressure.  Not only that, but the Skins ground game was successful on their first drive.  Portis had 5 rushes for 26 yards (5.2 yards/carry) and Rock Cartwright had that sweet punt fake run as well.  The O-line appears to be “gelling” and with Heyer now solidifying the RT spot, the focus is now on who the backups will be.  Jason Reid of the Redskins Insider thinks big Mike Williams will be a backup this year for sure, but he hasn’t been in a preseason game yet, so I’m not so sure.

Starting Defensive Unit- Orakpo is going to be a freaking beast.  That’s all I can say about him that really summarizes his play.  He lifted a 304 lb. offensive lineman off the ground on one play while rushing Charlie Batch.  He consistently got to the Steelers backfield and was seen wherever the ball was.  I can’t wait to see him play (especially against the Cowboys) this season.  The whole defense played pretty well, including DeAngelo Hall (even with that bogus penalty for unnecessary roughness called on him on the first drive).  

Special Teams- The kicking position is still unsettled, but Dominique Dorsey had some shifty moves as a punt returner.  

Other units & Notes: Todd Collins looked great with the exception of an interception (which I think was actually Devin Thomas’ fault for not going after the ball on a slant route).  Collins has grasped the Zorn offense and played well enough in the two preseason games to be the No. 2 QB this year.  That’s it.  Game over for that spot.

Marcus Mason played well again, but he’s got to figure out the special teams thing so he can make this roster.  I really hope he does because he’s got great speed that the Skins could use as an alternating look between Betts and Portis.  Reed Doughty has been looking really solid, both in tackling and in coverage.  

Chase Daniel appears to be beating Colt Brennan right now for the final QB slot (I would say due to his play in these preseason games and not because of Colt’s out of control “swagger”).  Somehow Colt has taken a step back from last year’s amazing preseason performance, even with a year under Zorn and his system.  Watch for Colt to improve against the Patriots this week.  If he doesn’t, I don’t think he’s got much longer in Washington (again, hard to believe with how well he did last year, but Chase looked great when he scrambled and threw those two touchdowns).  

Marko Mitchell, the 7th round pick from Nevada looks like a stud.  He’s making plays every day in practice and so far, in every preseason game.  Chase Daniel and Mitchell was the connection for the second touchdown of the night for the Skins.  I honestly can’t remember  the last time the Redskins even attempted a lob/fade in the back of the endzone.  Seriously, when was the last time that even happened?  Michael Westbrook?  Alvin Harper?  Cerrato may have a serious knack for picking the 7th rounders that make an impact.  Mitchell will most likely not only make the roster but get some time this year.  Yeah, I said it.

Aug
13

Top Five Things to Watch for in Skins v. Ravens

Thursday night is finally upon us and the Redskins will be matching up against their beltway non-conference, non-annually played, non-rival !  Even though this is just a preseason game.  It’s another step closer to the regular season.  There are many things that will need to happen for the Redskins to be successful this year, among them: Campbell’s growth in the Zorn offense, Haynesworth living up to his monstrous contract (though slightly lesser than T-Suggs contract with Baltimore) and how the offensive line protects Campbell.  Unfortunately, because it is the first preseason game you won’t see any of those things.  Campbell is likely to be in for one series, Haynesworth (along with other some other starters including Portis) aren’t playing, and the offensive line (Randy Thomas) will not be at full strength.  But, don’t you worry avid Redskins fan!  There is still plenty to watch and learn from tonight’s preseason matchup.

Here’s a run of our Top 5 things to watch for:

5. Offensive line play- Last year the Redskins selected Chad Rinehart (Left Tackle from Northern Iowa) with a third round draft pick and expectations were high for him to be a quality reserve for the offensive line.  It didn’t pan out that way, and he struggled to be effective last year when his number was called.  His explanation?  He was intimidated by the players he faced in the NFL and was stuck imitating others instead of playing “his game”. Injuries happen and have already started to swipe at the starting O-line, so Rinehart will most likely be called upon during the regular season.  Hopefully he will start reclaiming that swagger in the preseason to gear up for the rest of the year.

Of course Right Tackle is the biggest question mark on the O-line, so watch tonight how Heyer, Mike Williams and Bridges fare against a very challenging Ravens defense.  Although they won’t see the first team defense for long, the Ravens have consistently had one of the strongest defenses in the league the past decade and you don’t have that type of consistency without depth.  The race at who will start at RT starts tonight.

4. Just for Kicks- Shaun Suisham has a competition this year for his job at kicker (Thank goodness). Dave Rayner and Suisham will battle it out all preseason long, probably by switching up half’s of the game.  I am not sure this is really a competition, but I’d be shocked if Suisham wins it. Apparently he’s been spending time in the offseason working on things, so maybe he’ll come out and not be the league’s worst kicker. That’d be great.

Oh yeah, we also have a punter that (supposedly) is decent.  I’m actually looking forward to seeing our first punt tonight to see if Hunter Smith can help us forget about the whole Frost/Brooks fiasco from last year and the Plackemeir band-aid. Smith apparently has some pretty sweet sneaks too.

3. Cult of Colt vs. ToddBall Who will be the Number Two QB? One thing you can bet you’ll see this preseason is a heated position battle for the number 2 quarterback spot behind Campbell.  Colt Brennan had an incredible preseason last year going 36 for 53 for 411 yards 3 touchdowns and 0 interceptions (also leading all rookies with a QB rating of 109.9 in preseason games).  Todd Collins will most likely put up a good fight, with him also having the advantage of being in Zorn’s system for a second year.  Last year Collins seemed to be out of place while trying to adapt after being in Al Saunders style of offense for nearly a century.

2. Who’s going to be Z-Man’s Z Receiver? This is it, Devin Thomas vs. Malcolm Kelly. Can these second year receiver’s stay on the field and actually contribute this year? Thomas is starting tonight with the first team offense at the flanker position, opposite of Santana Moss.  But both Thomas and Kelly will receive major time tonight and will be challenged by the Ravens secondary.  Their success this pivotal to the success of Campbell.  Look for Campbell and Thomas to get comfortable with each other.  Some early chemistry building could go a long way if Thomas can stay healthy.

1. Orakpo’s debut.  Brian Orakpo was selected 13th in the first round by the Redskins this year and is going to be playing a mix of the SAM LB position (where Marcus Washington played) and Defensive End (where he wreaked havoc in college while playing for Texas). Orakpo’s been exceeding expectations throughout camp, impressing Samuels and Blache with both his natural talent and his quick learning of the defensive system. I don’t want to jinx anything but I think Orakpo could be a dominant force when paired with Haynesworth and Andre Carter.  Tonight we’ll be able to see Orakpo w/o Haynesworth’s help (hopefully not the case very often during the regular season).

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Also watch for these tonight: The competition for punt returner, Kevin Barnes’ debut, Marcus Mason’s last shot and Chase Daniel’s first time against NFL players.