You can reach Rich Tandler by email at WarpathInsiders@comcast.net
His issue is that the players are talking too much about winning the Super Bowl. In his column entitled "Big Pronouncements in August Can Haunt You in December" Wise quotes Clinton Portis talking about his goals:
"Winning the NFC East. Win the NFC championship game. Winning the Super Bowl. Rushing yards don't matter to me as long as I get a ring."
And Chris Cooley on how many passes he wants to catch this year:
"We win the Super Bowl, it doesn't matter to me."
He follows with what he thinks in the real zinger, the most outrageous statement of them all:
And who can forget Mark Brunell's proclamation on Day One of training camp? "Anything short of going all the way would be a disappointment."
This, Wise says, is unorthodox and downright dangerous:
But most players gunning for a championship don't publicly talk about it. At all. Especially in training camp.
That's silly, and it's not true. It's the goal of every player to go to the Super Bowl and win it. There isn't a team out there that doesn't think it has a chance and most players, when asked about personal goals, will say that they have none and their only goal is to help their team win it all. The recent history of worst-to-first performances in the NFL over the past decade or so backs up their confidence.
And what are the supposed say? As Brunell said, quoted by Wise in his column:
"If I had said, 'Hopefully, we'll win six games,' they would ship me out of here," Brunell said yesterday. "Thirty-one other starting quarterbacks should be saying the same thing."
All Portis and Cooley were saying is that the stats don't matter, it's the W's that count. The ring is the thing. These guys aren't boldly predicting that they'll be hoisting the Lombardi in February. They are saying that they will be disappointed if they don't get there. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
Certainly, as Wise points out, the Redskins aren't bullet proof. Countless things could go wrong that would derail their bid for a special season. But that doesn't mean that the players should do nothing but sit around and wring their hands worrying about it. It seems to me that the Redskins are striking a good balance between caution and optimism. Apparently, Wise disagrees.
TO Getting Brittle With Age?. . .posted 08.05.06
Well, well. For the past couple of days, Terrell Owens, the man who some are saying will turn the Dallas Cowboys from a 9-7, out of the playoffs unit into one that will be hoisting the Lombardi Trophy next February, has been on the sidelines with a hamstring pull. While plenty of stars are sitting out with various ailments, many of which wouldn't keep them out of a regular-season game, this one qualifies as news. No, not because ESPN and the NFL Network are constantly cutting to updates on how the stationary bike riding is going for Owens. It's because of this, from the AP story on his continued absence from practice:
Owens had not had a hamstring problem before
That's right, in his 10 previous years in the NFL, plus, presumably, his four years in college at Chattanooga, and before that in high school (where nobody gave him any respect, according to his book) and back to Pee-Wee football, he never has had a hamstring problem.
Hmm, let's see here. According to his page on NFL.com, he was born on December 7, 1973. That means that he's 32 now and will be 33 before the season ends. That's older than most of the wide receivers out there. I think it's safe to assume that his advancing age and the appearance of an injury that he had never suffered before are related.
Just a fluke, just a one-shot deal? Maybe, maybe not. It's also safe to assume that he had been dragged down from behind many times before Roy Williams did it to him on December 18, 2004. That time, however, 11 days after TO turned 31, he suffered a broken leg.
Bad luck or getting a bit brittle with age? Or maybe a little bit of both?
To be sure, nobody works out harder to keep himself in better shape than TO does. But very few of the wide receivers whose productivity dipped after age 30 largely because of various ailments, both small and nagging and big and debilitating, were couch potatoes in the offseason. Regardless of how much one may work out, eventually the body breaks down to the point where it can no longer function at the level necessary for one to be an NFL player at the very highest level. Everyone is different in terms of how long it takes and how rapid the tumble is once the descent downhill begins. But everyone is the same in that it happens sooner or later, more quickly or more slowly. TO is no exception.
Rich Tandler is the author of The Redskins From A to Z, Volume 1: The Games. This unique book has an account of every game the Redskins played from when they came to Washington in 1937 through the 2001 season. For details and ordering information, go to http://www.RedskinsGames.com
Gray Matters. . .posted 08.04.06
There are some new articles out there about Jerry Gray, the Redskins' new cornerbacks coach. One is by Howard Bryant of the WP, the other by Melinda Waldrop, the new beat reporter for the Daily Press in Hampton Roads. Both made the point that he may not be around here for long.
Bryant wrote of Gray accepting a job for which he is
"clearly overqualified" in order to be reunited with Gregg Williams. Gray
played for Williams with the Houston Oilers and
coached with him in
Waldrop's article makes the point that Gray's chances of moving up in the NFL world, back to a coordinator spot or even, eventually, a head coaching job, depends greatly on the team's success.
"It's (the secondary) gonna be a real big strength," [Carlos]
said. "That's what we've been talking about. We've got to lead this defense." Rogers
If that happens, Gray might find himself back in a leading role very soon.
"I think it depends on what we do here," Gray said. "Everybody wants winners. Everybody (thinks), 'I want somebody from their staff, because they won.' "
The Redskins went through a phase during the 1980's when they had difficulty holding on to talented assistant coaches. Joe Bugel and Dan Henning, for instance, left to accept head coaching offers elsewhere. Jack Kent Cooke told Joe Gibbs to hire a staff of future head coaches. While only three of them eventually made it—besides Bugel and Henning, Richie Petitbon succeeded Gibbs—the idea was to hire quality and not be afraid if you get somebody who might do some things better than you do. Along with Gray, Greg Blache and Dale Lindsey are also former NFL defensive coordinators, so Gregg Williams obviously isn't intimidated by strong resumes in contrast to, say, Steve Spurrier.
If you're afraid of losing good people, you'll never attract them in the first place. Williams realizes that even if he stays, it's unlikely that Gray will be around for more than a year or two. And, to this team, that's a good thing.Big Joe is Back. . .posted 08.03.06
I may have said this way too often, but Joe Salave'a is one tough sucker.
He played last year in ungodly pain in his foot, pain caused by plantar fasciitis that would have had most of us calling in sick to our day jobs. After one game he was standing there in his bare feet patiently answering my questions, probably hearing all of them for the tenth time. He never complained, never begged off to go to the trainer's room.
Salave'a was a late arrival at camp following the death of
his mother in
The Redskins are a better team due to his presence as a player and, perhaps more importantly, as a man.