DALY: Redskins’ quarterback shuffle adds up to lots of losses

Seventeen years. The Redskins have been searching for a quarterback to lead them out of the wilderness for that long. You’d think he was hiding in a mountain cave along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border (where his agent had stashed him to drive up his price).

It doesn’t seem possible. It almost doesn’t seem right. The franchise that gave us Sammy Baugh and Sonny Jurgensen, that all but invented the modern passing game, hasn’t had a quarterback of lasting quality in nearly two decades. Not that Redskins fans need to be reminded of this. Most of them can probably tick off – at the risk of a pounding headache – the name of every QB who has started for the club since Mark Rypien suddenly became scatter-armed.

John Friesz, Heath Shuler, Gus Frerotte, Jeff Hostetler, Trent Green, Brad Johnson, Jeff George, Tony Banks, Shane Matthews, Danny Wuerffel, Patrick Ramsey, Tim Hasselbeck, Mark Brunell, Jason Campbell, Todd Collins, Donovan McNabb, Rex Grossman. (I don’t think I’ve forgotten anybody, but I may have repressed the memory of a couple.) Anyway, that’s 17 quarterbacks in 17 seasons, which goes a long way toward explaining why the franchise has won exactly two playoff games in that time – one against an 8-8 Lions team, the other against a Bucs club quarterbacked by Chris Simms.

There are many reasons why the Redskins have been riding a streetcar named Irrelevant, but the revolving door at quarterback is surely at or near the top of the list. And now, of course, they’re in the market for a QB again. Last year’s “answer,” McNabb, didn’t work out, and Grossman is little more than a Bridge to the Next Guy; so Bruce Allen and Mike Shanahan, armed with the 10th pick, are mulling their options in the draft.

By the time their turn comes, though, Blaine Gabbert, Cam Newton and conceivably even Ryan Mallett could be off the board, leaving them with accuracy-challenged Jake Locker or, if they prefer to wait until the second round, somebody like Christian Ponder or Andy Dalton. You also can’t rule out the possibility of a trade. Maybe the Redskins envision Kevin Kolb, who likely will be dealt by the Eagles, flourishing in their offense the way Matt Schaub did in the Texans’ (under Kyle Shanahan, the current Washington play-caller).

Still, how did the Redskins get themselves in this predicament? How have they gone 17 years with virtually no continuity at the most important position on the field? Heck, the situation is even worse than it seems. Consider: Since 1985, when Joe Theismann had his leg broken by piggy-backing Lawrence Taylor, there have been only seven seasons, seven in 26, in which the same quarterback has started every game for the Redskins. In four of them, the team reached the playoffs (and in another it missed out on a tiebreaker). Think there’s any connection?

Not all of the aforementioned quarterbacks – the not-so-magnificent 17 – were meritless. Johnson, for instance, went to the Pro Bowl in 1999 and helped Tampa Bay win the Super Bowl three years later. Green, meanwhile, moved on to Kansas City and made the Pro Bowl twice. Had either stayed in Washington, the Dan Snyder Era might have turned out much differently. But Green left in free agency after the ‘98 season, amid ownership uncertainty, and Johnson was cast aside in favor of Snyder pet Jeff George (who was soon benched).

In the case of other quarterbacks, it was simply a matter of bad timing. Hostetler, for example, would have been a swell QB to have earlier in his career, when he was leading the Giants to a Super Bowl upset of the Bills. The same went for Brunell and McNabb, who didn’t remotely resemble in Washington the franchise players they had been elsewhere.

Then there’s Shuler, who couldn’t have gotten elected dogcatcher in D.C., but has gotten elected to Congress three times in North Carolina. Who knew?

So the quarterback procession has been a mixed bag of first-round busts (Shuler, Ramsey, Campbell), front-office brain freezes (George, Brunell, McNabb) and assorted other miscalculations and acts of desperation. It just underlines what football folk are always saying: There’s nothing more difficult than evaluating a QB, especially one coming out of college.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Miles scores career-high 40, Jazz rip Wolves

SALT LAKE CITY (AP)—Utah Jazz coach Ty Corbin wanted to shake things up a bit.

Even he couldn’t have imagined the fireworks that resulted from inserting C.J. Miles(notes) into the starting lineup and demoting veteran Raja Bell(notes).

“He was on fire,” Jazz teammate Jeremy Evans(notes) said of Miles, who scored a career-high 40 points Wednesday night in Utah’s 119-104 rout of the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Even Bell acknowledged the heady move, making sure Corbin subbed out Miles separately late in the game so Miles could take in the standing ovation.“Everybody deserves that,” Bell said of a round of applause following a stellar effort. “That’s cool. I would have wanted it if I had (gone) off like that. I thought he deserved it.”

Miles, who also started Monday night’s overtime win against Philadelphia, hit his first seven shots Wednesday, including his first four from 3-point range. He had 18 points in the opening quarter, his only miss at the buzzer with a defender in his face.

Miles had 25 by halftime, when the Jazz had a 71-50 lead. His previous career high was 29.

“It’s been a long time coming,” said Miles, who finished 14 for 18 overall and 6 of 7 from 3-point range.

He thought back to advice from former Jazz 3-point specialist Kyle Korver(notes).

“When it rains, it pours,” Miles said of shots dropping.

Lately, it’s been games the Jazz have been dropping. After a promising 15-5 start, the Jazz fell out of the playoff picture. They entered Wednesday’s game 10th in the Western Conference standings.

“We’re moving in the right direction,” said Andrei Kirilenko(notes), who had seven points in overtime Monday. “We have a lot of changes and right now we’re getting used to each other and we’re getting better and better each game.”

The Jazz improved to 36-33, while Minnesota fell to 17-52.

The game was almost a complete reversal of Friday night’s matchup, when the Timberwolves made their first 11 shots en route to a 121-101 rout in Minnesota.

Yes, there was a desire to avenge that loss.

“More than anything, we need to find our stride, put these last 13 together the best we can and kind of let the chips fall where they may,” Bell said. “That’s all the motivation we should need right now.”

Kevin Love(notes) led Minnesota with 22 points and 11 rebounds, but he got going too late to help the Timberwolves, who have dropped two straight.

Love had just two rebounds at halftime.

“He’s a great offensive rebounder so I just made sure I got a body on him,” said rookie forward Derrick Favors(notes), who made his second start in a Jazz uniform in place of injured Paul Millsap(notes). “I hit him first before he hit me and just tried to keep him off the boards.”

Favors finished with 13 points and five rebounds.

Al Jefferson(notes) added 26 points and 11 boards for Utah.

But it was Miles who had the biggest impact, scoring from outside and with strong moves to the basket.

“He did a tremendous job of executing the offense,” said Corbin, who won back-to-back games for the first time since taking over last month for Hall of Famer Jerry Sloan.

“He didn’t rush any shots … and he put the ball on the floor some and got to the basket early.”

Utah held a 38-18 advantage in the paint at halftime and led, 71-50. The 71 first-half points were a season high. The Jazz shot 62.2 percent in the first half, while holding the Wolves to 35.6 shooting. Utah also had 28 assists in the game.

“They’re fighting for something and they did a really good job executing their offense,” Minnesota coach Kurt Rambis said. “They just sliced us apart. Whenever a team gets 60-plus points in the paint scored on you, you don’t give yourself a very good chance.”

The Jazz led by as many as 26 in the first half, and 24 in the third quarter before Minnesota cut Utah’s lead to 92-80 entering the fourth quarter. The Wolves were within 10 points before Jefferson and Kirilenko (15 points) made key plays for the Jazz.

Love, who saw his franchise-record streak of 53 consecutive double-doubles come to an end in Sunday’s loss at Golden State, said the Wolves simply made too many mistakes.

“We got ourselves back in the game but when you dig yourself such a deep hole, then you spend the entire second half trying to fight your way out,” Rambis said. “Our guys ran out of energy.”

Favors set the tone early by blocking a shot by Michael Beasley(notes). By halftime, the Jazz had six block shots, four by Jefferson, who was a rebound shy of a double-double heading into the locker room.

The game was tied at 32 with 39 seconds left in the first quarter after Martell Webster(notes) hit a 3-pointer for the Minnesota. But Miles hit his fourth straight 3-pointer to start a 10-0 run that extended into the second quarter.

Rookies Gordon Hayward(notes) and Evans kept things rolling for the Jazz in the second quarter. Hayward made two passes inside to Jefferson for dunks, and Evans dunked off a powerful move to the basket to give the Jazz 42-32 lead.

Reserve guard Earl Watson(notes) then hit a short jumper and threw up an alley-oop to Evans, whose dunk made it 46-36, Utah.

Back-to-back dunks by Favors and Kirilenko boosted Utah’s lead to 15 points, and Miles converted a three-point play for a 60-40 Jazz lead with 3:58 left in the half.

The 17-2 run continued with two more three-point plays by Jefferson.

The Jazz expect to get Millsap back Sunday when they play at Houston. Miles left little doubt that he’ll be in the lineup.

“You spread it out and just kind of let him shoot it,” point guard Devin Harris(notes) said of Miles. “He’s capable of that.”

Notes: Jazz G Harris sat out the fourth quarter to give his sore hamstring extra rest. … The Jazz announced after the game that reserve center Mehmet Okur(notes) is out for the rest of the regular season because of continued issues with his lower back and Achilles tendon. … Love recorded his 63rd double-double of the season … The Wolves shot 13.6 percent in the second quarter.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

With extension done, NFL labor fight just getting started

http://signechimes.insanejournal.com/

TAMPA – I’ll hate myself tomorrow for this, but here goes. I’m about to quote a tweet from agent Drew Rosenhaus. This is definitely why I got into journalism. Holding nose now …

“Great news on the extension for the CBA Talks! Great work by both sides!! Heading in the right direction!!”

Well, I suppose. For now, Josh Freeman’s key card still works at One Buc Place.

NFL owners agreed Friday to delay a lockout of the serfs – uh, players – for a week, so they can keep chatting toward a new collective bargaining agreement to save next season. If people like Super Drew are happy about this development, that’s not a bad thing. At least owners didn’t storm from the table.

Drew may be happy but I’m not feeling it, not yet anyway. Owners forced this showdown to get an extra $1 billion off the top from the players, get them play two more games for no more pay, and then roll over on command while wagging their legs.

This thing is just getting started.

The players will reach a point of “this, and no further.” When that happens, you’ll probably hear owners say that’s not good enough as they parade to the cameras to deliver that mournful “we did our best but we have no choice” speech, no doubt carefully rehearsed.

One possible sign of progress could come if/when we see appellate judges warming up their legal briefs on the sideline. Things tend to happen when the courts get involved, and why wouldn’t they? Most of these franchises – including one near and dear to us in Tampa – play in stadiums paid for by taxpayers.

Teams signed leases with the expectation of playing games in those stadiums, in exchange for the unholy amount of public dough they receive. Failing to play is breaking that agreement.

That’s the thing about all this. They’re talking about how to split up your money, whether it’s the taxes you pay, the suites you rent and tickets you buy, or even the stuff you purchase from commercials that companies pay to show on television.

Any good game requires that you choose sides, so who you got?

I make it a general rule to oppose any group that includes Al Davis among its members, so I guess I’m backing the players. But then I read an anonymous quote attributed to one of the associates of soon-to-be former Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer.

If the Bengals don’t get him out of Cincy, he just might retire and live off the $80 million he has in the bank. That buys a lot of Skyline Chili.http://lenardknie.blog.co.uk/

OK, so who to root for is a push.

My guess is that the “two more games” thing is a ruse. It’s one of those issues invented by owners because of consumer “demand” – except everything I’ve read shows that fans don’t really want an 18-game season. They just don’t want to pay regular-season prices for two worthless home exhibition games.

Big difference.

It also gives owners a chance to “concede” an issue to the players I’m not convinced they have any real interest in winning.

As for the rest of it, well, even if Carson Palmer does have $80 mil in the bank, at least he and the other players have earned their money. They’re looking at a future of crippling arthritis, memory and mental issues, serious depression, pain med addiction, and lots of other fun stuff thanks to the games they played for our amusement (for which, yes, they are well paid in present-day currency).

The owners, well … those yachts are expensive to maintain. And have you ever seen the electric and gardening bills for those mansions?

There is a lot of hot air between us and a settlement, folks, and I doubt a one-week extension will make much dent in that. I could be wrong, but I won’t be surprised if this stuff drags its dreary way through the next several months, complete with false starts and cliffhanger threats.

Yes, Drew Rosenhaus is right and this thing is headed in the right direction but I won’t believe it until owners and players are standing together at the podium.

The season won’t begin for about six months. If you think they’re going to be reasonable now, you have more faith than me.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Simmons: Celtics & trade value

http://signechimes.insanejournal.com/

ESPN.com’s Bill Simmons provides his annual glance at the top 50 players in the NBA in terms of trade value. All of the criteria is explained in the intro to this year’s two-part column. We’ve plucked the Cheap NFL Jerseys Celtics out to spotlight their rankings:
Honorable mention: Kendrick Perkins and Glen Davis get a dual nod, but landed outside the top 50.
No. 29 Kevin Garnett: Of course, you can’t mention Kevin Garnett in a sports column anymore without mentioning how much everyone hates Kevin Garnett. Since joining the Celtics, he’s slowly morphed into the least-liked superstar in the league, this generation’s version of Rick Barry or Isiah Thomas. That’s been devastating for me for two reasons: He plays for my favorite team, and more importantly, that Barry/Isiah spot was supposed to go to Kobe. How did this thing flip so fast? Every day, I get at least one e-mail from a reader wondering, “How can you root for Kevin Garnett?”
17. Paul Pierce: [A guy] who will unquestionably retire with [the Celtics]. Kinda ruins the point of the column.http://lenardknie.blog.co.uk/
13. Rajon Rondo: Rondo may have replaced Gary Payton as the all-time Table Test guy: Has anyone in basketball history ever brought more things to the table and taken more stuff off the table? In Sunday’s Miami win alone, he finished with a triple-double, demanded to cover LeBron and disrupted him for a couple of quarters … and in the last few minutes, Miami played 40 feet off him and dared him to win the game. In close games, Celtics fans are an emotional mess: We want Rondo to shoot, we don’t want him to shoot, we don’t know what the hell we want. The enduring Rondo question: Does he get enough done in those first 44 minutes (routinely spectacular, consistently excellent) to offset the last four minutes (when his outside shooting, porous free throw shooting and fear of getting fouled become such major liabilities) and the strategic conundrums he inadvertently creates (like when smart teams leave Rondo alone and use his defender as a double-teamer/extra rebounder)? I honestly don’t know the answer. I just know that, when he shoots the ball in a big spot, I want him to shoot it … but I’m always surprised when it goes in. That’s why I couldn’t nudge him past Westbrook or the next two guys.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Hello world!

Welcome to WordPress.com. This is your first post. Edit or delete it and start blogging!

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment