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Clinton Portis: 'Everything In Denver Was Coach Shanahan'

Posted by Matt Terl on December 29, 2010 – 3:30 pm

Clinton Portis showed up in the locker room today, looking every bit as in-shape as he’d said he was during his Tuesday radio appearance. And, like Santana Moss, he discussed the possibility of returning next year. And, also like Moss (and pretty much everyone else), Portis expressed how much he’d like to be back in a Redskins uniform next year.

“I would love to be,” Portis said. “I think I did everything they asked. You know, I think I showed all the requirements. I think I showed that I can continue to play. I think I showed that I was actually dedicated to this program and turning this team around and I kind of flew under the radar and moved from the forefront and let everybody else do their thing and I did my work quietly. I mean, it was tough early on. It was just not getting the ball and being healthy. And then all of a sudden, once we established a running game, I was done. So, who knows, man? That’s up to them.”

That, I suppose, was the other theme that guys were putting forth: the decision rests with Mike Shanahan, Bruce Allen, and the front office.

“If they want to keep me, of course they got first option,” Portis said. “If they want to let me go, then I’m okay with that and understand the business side of this. If it’s it, I think it’ll be a bittersweet moment but I think life gotta go on.”

My favorite part of Portis’ long media session, though, came when he was asked to describe the difference between Shanahan in Denver and Shanahan in D.C. Read more »

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Graham Gano Named NFC Special Teams Player Of The Week

Posted by Matt Terl on December 29, 2010 – 1:36 pm

As we approach the end of an up-and-down season in which fans have regularly questioned Graham Gano‘s job security and head coach Mike Shanahan has been uwavering in his support of the young kicker, Gano received a bit of pleasant news: he has been named NFC Special Teams Player Of The Week for his performance in Sunday’s game at Jacksonville.

I didn’t leave the game thinking that Gano had done anything particularly splashy — the last Redskin to receive this honor was punter Hunter Smith, and he had to throw a touchdown pass to get it — but if you review the statistics, he really did have quite the game. Read more »

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Santana Moss: 'Meant For Me To Be' A Redskin

Posted by Matt Terl on December 29, 2010 – 12:17 pm

Today’s sign that we’ve really reached the winding-down portion of the season: players who are facing free agency being asked about their futures with the team. Nearly everyone in the locker room said that they still had plenty of football left and that they hoped to play that football here. It’s what you’d hope to hear, what you’d expect to hear, and it often doesn’t actually mean all that much.

But Santana Moss‘s declaration — he’s currently slated to be a free agent after this season — was particularly heartfelt. Read more »

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On Rooting For Draft Picks, And Other Links

Posted by Matt Terl on December 29, 2010 – 6:00 am

For the last several weeks of the season, I hosted a show on Ustream called Redskins Fan Zone. Basically, it was me moderating a panel of fans, asking them questions and generally shooting the breeze about the Redskins the way Redskins fans do. (Also, wearing dumb hats. I did a fair bit of that as well.) Anyhow, one of the questions I’ve been asking a lot is if rooting for the Redskins to improve their draft position — i.e., to lose — is acceptable. And the answer is almost always an emphatic no.

But there’s a school of thought that disagrees, as Rick Snider of the Washington Examiner demonstrated yesterday. “Even in victory the Washington Redskins lost,” Snider begins, and, yes, he’s referring to their draft status. Here’s an excerpt:

But the payoff for another crummy season was lost when they beat the Jaguars. Not that anyone is saying they should lose to improve the draft order, but the Redskins’ typical luck just saw that happen. They’re currently No. 14. Finishing 7-9 might move them to No. 16. That’s just past an immediate impact player like Brian Orakpo and probably someone like Tennessee reserve defensive end Derrick Morgan, last year’s 16th pick.

I’m not really sold on the idea that, at 14, “they’re past an impact player like Brian Orakpo”. That’s fairly peculiar on the most basic level, since Orakpo himself was the 13th overall pick (just one pick earlier). And Houston took Brian Cushing at 15, and Green Bay selected Clay Matthews at 26, both of whom are impact players – Pro Bowlers, in fact — at the same position Orakpo plays.

And all of that is just in the 2009 Draft alone. In 2010, here are a few of the first round guys taken after pick 14: Dez Bryant, Mike Iupati, and Tim Tebow — which doesn’t even mention Pro Bowlers Maurkice Pouncey and Devin McCourty.

But it’s not just me and the fans on Ustream who don’t agree with the idea that improving draft position is an inherently good thing. Here’s John Keim, also writing in the Examiner: “Yes, winning drops them lower in the draft, but picking high doesn’t guarantee success. Otherwise, the Browns and Lions would be perennial Super Bowl contenders. The key isn’t drafting high; it’s drafting smart. Just look at the New England Patriots. There’s no doubt the Redskins could use a high pick, but they also needed wins.”

Here’s Dan Daly’s lede over at TBD.com: “Maybe we shouldn’t worry so much that the Redskins’ latest win might hurt their drafting position. As the Patriots are showing, you don’t need a pile of first-round picks to be successful in the NFL. You just have to make intelligent use of the picks you have.”

And Kevin Ewoldt at Hogs Haven — a regular sparring partner of Snider’s — puts together three excellent reasons why winning is more important than improving draft position, but his most compelling argument is this graphic showing the top five players in every statistical category this year and where they were drafted. (Brief summary: they are not all, or even mostly all, taken in the top 14 spots.)

The winning — knowing how to win, learning to come together as a team, seeing young talent perform — is unquestionably more important than moving a few spots either way in the draft. If I were still hosting that Ustream show, I think I’d retire this question for good. And the stupid hats. I think I’d ditch those as well.

Other notable links…. Read more »

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