Monthly Archives: October 2010

Nationals need a coup to prove they mean business.

The Washington Nationals have a lot of questions marks involving personnel this offseason including who to bring back and what players to pursue in free agency or through a trade. Forget the budget for the Lerner’s and let’s get serious.

If the Nationals want to be competitive in 2012, they have to get aggressive this offseason. The time is now to start filling the rest of the holes in the roster or the franchise will be not be successful as they expect when Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper come back. They need a coup de gras in free agency.

Mark Zuckerman has a great breakdown of the Nationals payroll and projects just $47 million tied up for the 2011 season, $17 million under the 2010 Opening Day payroll. The team first needs to tie up a big bat, which I expect them to do by bringing back Adam Dunn. Even then, the team would have $22 million just to get up to the league median.

The franchise hasn’t been willing to shell out big contracts unless re-signing in house, but Mike Rizzo needs to be aggressive. This off-season, the Nationals need to contend for elite players, and that means competing with the likes of the Yankees and Red Sox.

That means going after a player like Cliff Lee.

I’ll be upfront, this kind of signing would absolutely break the bank with possible market value for the Ranger ace at 5-years, $125 million, but if the Nationals want to deliver on their promise of making this team a contender they have to take risks. Lee has been downright ridiculous this postseason making him the most desirable free agent in baseball this offseason. The Nats need to make the move. They need to get Cliff Lee.

Is it wishful thinking that the Nationals could land such a coveted player? Well, obviously, but what’s the problem with that? What’s the problem with hoping the front office is willing to compete in the open market?

Even if the team can’t land Lee, they have to make moves to improve the rotation. Tampa Bay’s Matt Garza and Kansas City’s Zach Greinke are two other possibilities that would make sense as well. Any way you write the script, it has to end with the Nationals taking chances in the market. They have to show that if they want to be competitive on the field, they have to be competitive in signing players.
 

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“Score goals and win game.” It’s what Ovechkin does best.

Alex Ovechkin sealed the Washington Capitals second win of the season in overtime last night at home vs the Senators. With the attack forming from the back, Ovechkin took the puck on the right side of the red line and drilled a shot five-hole past the Senators goalie with just 30 seconds left before the game would have gone to a shootout.

The goal is Ovechkin’s eighth overtime goal in his career. See all of them at SB Nation DC.

Quotes from Bruce Boudreau, Alex Ovechkin and Mike Green after the jump!

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Basketball is basketball and Arenas deserves to stay in Washington.

The Washington Wizards are a new team with only a few pre-scandal players still on the roster. John Wall is now the leader of this team, JaVale McGee is a rising star and Ted Leonsis is now the owner of the franchise. That’s what we should focus on, right?

Nope. Gilbert Arenas is, and it’s not for the reasons when he was the star of this franchise.

He came to media day sporting a scruffy beard, a subdued demeanor and not a hint of a smile. It’s obvious that Agent 0 is a changed man. He no longer wears his trademark “0,” shedding the nickname he embraced from his rags to riches days.

He’s number 9 now and still deserves your attention.

“I lost all feeling a long time ago,” Arenas told reporters. “Basketball is basketball.” He couldn’t be more right. It’s no longer what takes place off the court, it’s what he does on it. That’s what truly needs to matter now.

Arenas was crucified by the DC media and fans for the incidents that ignited a firestorm last season, but now he is back and Wizards fans may be forced to embrace him.

And you should too because people deserve second chances, especially when they’ve paid the price for their mistakes.

I was one of the people that tore apart Arenas for the decisions he made, but he served his time and understands the consequences of his actions. He spent time in prison and a halfway house, something a large majority of the population cannot even fathom. The drama is gone and this is a new organization but Arenas is still here. So what’s the problem? There is none.

Redemption is the key word in this instance and Wizards fans need to give him a shot at it.

Arenas is under contract until 2014, though many expect him out the door before then. Even Arenas has said he expects it.

“Teach John [Wall]the ins and outs of the game and then eventually go on and move on, and I’m on my way,” Arenas said after the Wizards preseason win against Dallas.

I don’t expect that to happen largely because of the three major story lines I mentioned at the top of this post.

Wall is taking over the point guard position this season, forcing Arenas to shooting guard, a spot critics have said he’s too small for. While he won’t be as effective moving out of the way, he can still contribute like the elite player he was before the injuries and suspension.

He won’t just be mentoring Wall, but the rest of the team, including McGee. You could argue that no one in the league has seen more and gone through as many ups and downs as Arenas. In any situation, Arenas can mentor and he doesn’t necessarily have to do it in front of the media so we won’t be able to evaluate the impact he will have on the team.

Leonsis is an owner who can and has embraced Arenas. I’ve said time and time again Leonsis is the best owner in sports and I don’t doubt his ability to help the once-troubled star.

Forget the psychoanalysis of Arenas and think about the statistics. Forget the character criticisms and think about the benefits he can have on a young team. His teammates like him and now all that matters is what he does on the court. Let’s embrace Arenas again and stop crucifying a player that has paid his price.

Thank you for your continued support of DMV Sports. If you have any comments, questions or suggestions feel free to email me at akecke@gmail.com.


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Redskins-Packers: Wait, so we won?

Graham Gano kicks the game-winning field goal in the Redskins 16-13 overtime victory vs the Packers at FedEx Field. Gano hit a 45-yard field goal to tie the game with 1:07 left in regulation and the 33-yarder pictured above in overtime.

No really, did the Redskins actually pull one out after playing three quarters of awful football? Did the Redskins really get two clutch kicks from Graham Gano and prevent me from turning off the TV early in the third? Did the Packers really blow that game? Are my eyes deceiving me?

LaRon Landry has shown how valuable he can be, playing at an all-pro level and setting up the Redskins in Packer territory with his fantastic interception. Aided by two defensive penalties that would have stalled the Redskins offense in overtime, they were in fact able to finish the job despite the Smirnoff ad trying to ice Gano again.

A lot went wrong, but a lot went right as well. Let’s break it down.

Game ball – LaRon Landry: got the deciding interception and forced a fumble in the first half. STEAK AND POTATOES BABY! And a great quote from the man, the myth, the Landry:

“This defense fits me well. It enables me to be close to the line of scrimmage and play physical. I don’t have too many reads, just fly around and make tackles, break on the ball and be instinctive.”

LIKE A BOSS!

Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde – the best description for the offense yesterday. The playcalling has been inconsistent, working short before randomly throwing deep balls to Anthony Armstrong or Joey Galloway(???). Through much of the game I felt stuck in the Zorn era circa 2008, making me want to punch my monitor. Then they take a chance, find Santana or give Armstrong a ball to come down with in the end zone. Consistency. It is key.

ORAKPWND – That is all.

Clay Mathewpwnd? – Eh, doesn’t sound very good. Still, Mathews diminated the Redskins and is one of the best defensive players in the NFL. It was obvious when he left the game iwth an injury how much the offense picked up and started moving. If he had stayed in, the Skins would have lost 13-3. That’s real talk.

Everyone must hate the Redskins – Clay Mathews left the game in the third quarter and Aaron Rodgers sustained a concussionin overtime. This adds to the list of key players the Redskins defense has injured in past weeks. The others: Andre Johnson, Michael Vick and Jermichael Finley. These guys aren’t playing around.

Third-down defense – The Redskins held the Packers to 2-13 (15%) on third down and 0-1 on fourth down. The Packers previously ranked fifth in the league with a 46.5% success rate on third down.

McNabb is not average – he’s got something special that makes me realize we’ll always have a chance to fight back. The home-run balls and aversion to interceptions are something we didn’t see a year ago with Jason Campbell. He didn’t look great throwing balls at receivers feet or launching a yard too long, but he showed up when we needed him and got the crucial yards.

Brandon friggin Banks – He turns long fields into good opportunities and he gets the crowd into the game. He’s quickly becoming my favorite Redskin and I can’t wait for him to get into the endzone and do the John Wall.

Torain Train wasn’t there – The Skins couldn’t rely on the running game with Clay Mathews and the Packer defense stymieing the run early. I picked up Torain in fantasy this week expecting him to break out, but we saw none of that against a stout defensive line.

Don’t teach me how to dougie – We go from one badass dance to one extremely played out one, the dougie. Look, I love that you hauled down the 48-yard pass for the touchdown, Armstrong, but the dougie is played out. It’s been done. Do the Galloway, which in reality is the humpty hump. You know what, don’t do the humpty hump. That’d be bad.

Stephon Heyer – Every time I see the goofily proportioned Heyer (oddly long chicken legs) my exact thought is: “How’s he going to fuck this one up?”

Mike Sellers is special – On special teams that is. Laid down some great hits, made some great blocks. Always good to see a bonafide starter make an impact on SP.

I hate to say it but… we need Albert Haynesworth to play. The NOSE-GUARD did not play because of the death of his half-brother, but it shows how much he was really needed to wreak havoc on the opposing offensive line. Orakpo was the only player to really breakthrough to get to Aaron Rodgers consistently, but with Haynesworth playing the defensive line would have been much more effective.

You knew he would drop it – You know who I’m talking about.

Get off your knees – By my count, the refs botched four defensive holding and pass intererence calls until overtime when they decided to help the Skins offense get into field goal range, calling one of each for the home team. I normally don’t like make up calls, but I’ll take it.

COOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLLLLLEEEEYYYYY.

 

Thank you for your continued support of DMV Sports. If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, feel free to email me at akecke@gmail.com.

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Mike Green and Ilya Kovalchuk get fighty.

Mike Green and Ilya Kovalchuk are not enforcers and are certainly not fighters, which is why it was so weird for them to drop the gloves in the Capitals Saturday’s blowout victory. It wasn’t exactly a great fight with the two exchanging mixed connections like it was a Craigslist ad, but it was funny to see two guys who combine to make $12.5 million throw down as SB Nation DC’s Mike Prada points out. The two looked to plant fists but ended up twirling around on the ice before falling, effectively ending the fight.

The game saw four fights as the Capitals pounded the Devils into submission.

UPDATE: Found the video of all the fights.

Definitely a good watch as the video includes Jason Chimera, Mike Green, Matt Henricks and Matt Bradley all getting into it. Bradley laid down the best hit by far, dropping the Devil to the ice.

The last bit of the video is P.L. Letourneau-Leblond going after the Capitals first-round pick Marcus Johansson, clearly insigating in the last bit of the game. Doing so will get him a one-game suspension and a $10,000 fine for himself as well as the head coach. When asked whether he regretted instigating the fight, Letourneau said “No, no regrets.” Ok then.

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Dan Snyder’s E:60 Segment.

Presented without comment (because I’d like to continue receiving press releases from the organization).

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Redskins clip Eagles 17-12: This one’s for DMac.

After just four games, the Redskins sit atop* the NFC East at 2-2, barely coming out ahead in both wins. We saw again on Sunday the positives of the offense in the first half, and the extreme negatives which have nearly put the team at 0-4 on the year in the second half. Let’s give out some awards to yesterday’s winners and losers:

Take That – It was nice to hear the ovation Donovan got in his first game back in Philadelphia, but it was even better to hear the silence after the 31-yard touchdown to Cooley in the first quarter. His performance and the awful performance by Kevin Kolb brought up some important questions: Why did they trade him? Was playing Kolb really a better plan than keeping the best quarterback in franchise history? The game probably would have had a different outcome if Vick had not been injured, but that’s football. Injuries happen.

It still feels weird to see Donovan McNabb in a Redskin jersey, but I love him none the less. He’s been the sparkplug that’s charged the offense (even if it’s stagnant at times). His speech in the locker room shows that while he may not have wanted to be here, he’s still dedicated to the cause, and for that I thank him.

Salty to Super – Albert Haynesworth did exactly what he was brought here to do: wreak havoc on the opposing offensive line. He drew double teams and was an enormous (tehe) presence at the line of scrimmage.

Tazmanian Torain – Notched 73 yards rushing with a lot of them coming late. Sorry Mr Portis, but I think we found our running back. Oh, and his touchdown was dirrrrrrty!

Making Banks – Brought up Saturday and activated forSunday, Brandon Banks was huge on special teams, includign his first punt return which he took back 53 yards. He was taken out later in the game but he made a huge contribution to the win.

Orakpwnd – Brian Orakpo is the best player on the Redskins defense but he won’t get the stats if he keeps getting held. Yes, it helps to get the holding calls to back up the offense, but it hurts him as a player.

Brickhands – Carlos Rogers had an EASY AS ALL HELL opportunity to the end the game and… he dropped it. Would have been better off tipping the ball up and catching in gingerly in a bread basket. C’mon man, you have to get those.

Hard-hits – DeAngelo Hall and Kareem Moore’s hit on Vick to knock him out of the game, Carlos Rogers hit on LeSean McCoy that left him shaky and nearly unable to walk… the Redskins defense was aggressive and unrelenting in their pursuit of the ball and they laid absolutely vicious hits on the Eagles. That’s how you play football.

We’re #31! – The Skins no longer have the worst defense in the league! Statistically of course.

Bid-adieu – How is Jason Bidwell still on the team after consistently kicking worse than I did in high school? His 15 yard punt to set up the Eagles last drive was nothing short of dreadful.

GTFO – Stephon Heyer… just go.

Barkley backs up his word The Sixers legend backed up his words when he said he would be wearing a burgundy and gold jersey at the Linc to support Donovan McNabb. That takes balls, but honestly, who would mess with his anyway? [Pic comes via DC Sports Bog]

LINKS! LINKS! LINKS!

Dan Steinberg looks at the best and worst of the win. A weekly must read.

Jason Reid reports the Redskins are actively shopping Devin Thomas.

DC Pro Sports Report get all the quotes you need from Mike Shanahans weekly Monday press conference.

Shutdown Corner explains how Andy Reid botched their opportunity at a touchdown.

Kyle Shanahan and Jim Haslett press briefings from CSN Washington

Scott Jackson of SB Nation DC doesn’t mind the ugly win an neither should you.

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