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Rennie Simmons and Arthur Smith Depart

Posted by Matt Terl on January 7, 2009 – 6:15 pm

The Redskins lost another direct tie to the Super Bowl-winning Redskins teams of the late 1980s and early 1990s today, as tight ends coach Rennie Simmons retired. And the youngest member of the team’s coaching staff, defensive quality control coach Arthur Smith, is leaving to pursue a career in the military after two seasons in his current position.

Simmons joined the Redskins in 1981, as the tight ends coach under a rookie head coach by the name of Joe Gibbs. It made sense that Simmons would come along with Gibbs at that point, as the two had been teammates together in high school (at Santa Fe High) and under legendary coach Don Coryell at San Diego State.

Simmons also coached the offensive line from 1990-91 and wide receivers from 1992-93

After the jump, as complete a list of Simmons-coached tight ends as I’ve seen. Read more »

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My Dulcet Tones on Redskins Nation

Posted by Matt Terl on January 7, 2009 – 4:47 pm

I’ve been appearing pretty regularly on Redskins Nation on Comcast SportsNet lately, sitting next to Larry Michael for a few minutes to discuss NFL news and occasionally respond to viewer emails as best I can. I’d direct you all to watch it whenever I’m on, except for two things: first, I’m mildly embarrassed to shill quite so shamelessly for myself, and second, I know not everyone has access to Comcast SportsNet.

I can’t help with the first problem (although, based on that enormous Redskins Nation logo above, I seem to have gotten over it somewhat), but a halfway decent solution to the second one has presented itself. After the jump, I’ve posted the audio of my segment from today.

Sure, you miss out on the sublime joy of watching me try not to stare at the camera, but the rest of the excitement is there. Read more »

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Todd Yoder, Regular Guy

Posted by Matt Terl on January 7, 2009 – 2:06 pm

At his first offseason press conference last Monday, Coach Zorn recounted some of the words of advice he’d offered to his players as they returned home.

“I encouraged the married men and men that have children to be careful as they enter back into their homes and a normal lifestyle. You know, actually being around, and what that’s all about.

“And I know that from personal experience. You know, all of a sudden I walk back into the house but my wife has been completely in charge of everything for so many weeks, I step back in and go, ‘Why is that there?’ And that doesn’t go over real well. So we have to enter back in carefully.”

When you hear the jokes about a player coming out of retirement because his family can’t stand him (or vice versa) … well, after being around an NFL team for a season, I’d be willing to bet that there’s probably some truth to most of those jokes.

Being on a pro football team is often a huge time commitment, but it’s also an enormous mental commitment, and even when some of these guys are home in-season, they’re probably not really AT home in their heads. So Zorn really isn’t exaggerating when he describes the transition back to real life.

Of course, some players handle it better than others. Todd Yoder is a nine-year NFL vet, as well as a guy with an apparently enormous pain threshold. But when the season ends and his wife heads out of town, Yoder transforms smoothly into Mr. Mom, or Daddy Day Care, or whatever similar nickname you prefer.

Yoder was kind enough to let me ride along to see an afternoon in the glamorous offseason life of an NFL player, Flip camera and all. The tell-all video is after the jump! Read more »

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Wednesday, January 7: Revisiting Awkward Jerseys

Posted by Matt Terl on January 7, 2009 – 9:52 am

A couple months back, I observed that purchasing a jersey is a risky endeavor. Get unlucky and you’re wearing a Heath Shuler jersey long after the man himself has failed in D.C., bounced through New Orleans and Oakland, and returned to D.C. as a Congressman. It was all light-hearted and well-intentioned and amusing and all of that.

What I didn’t realize at the time was that this is actually the sort of thing that honest-to-goodness economists study and analyze. The excellent Freakonomics blog at the New York Times takes a look at the question from that standpoint in regard to Brett Favre New York Jets jerseys.

So how do all those people who paid $80 for Favre Jets jerseys feel today? Do they wish they’d spent their money elsewhere? How much would they pay for the same jersey today? Did they derive $80 worth of pleasure from it up to this point – i.e., was the thrill of the first two-thirds of the season worth the pain of the last third?

Part of the question turns on the reasons people wear jerseys, which psychologists have actually given names to.

And what about wearing the jerseys they’ve already bought? Psychologists have noted a pair of phenomena related to this question: Basking in Reflected Glory (BIRGing) and Cutting Off Reflected Failure (CORFing). This boils down to the fact that people like to wear a team’s jersey after the team wins (that’s a BIRGer binge) and they like to bury a team’s jersey deep in the closet after the team loses.

I’m not sure if any recent Redskins jersey carries quite the weight that Favre’s does — as the article notes, Favre’s Jets jersey broke the previous single-day sales record by something like 700% — but I feel like, within reason, Jason Taylor might come close.

The ad for presales of his Skins jersey was on the website before his number was finalized, and (although it’s tough to remember now) people were excited about the trade. Then a freakish calf injury cost him a chunk of the season and he never seemed to quite settle in to the scheme here, and all of a sudden Taylor’s on the radio talking about how he wouldn’t pay himself eight million. There’s still the chance that he’s rejuvenated next year and wreaking the havoc in D.C. that we all hoped to see, but as it stands now, I’d say that there’s probably a lot more CORFing than BIRGing in 55 jerseys this year. Read more »

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