31 October 2009

Cool Name. Plus Five.

Dear Jim Zorn,

I’m back to comment on the Redskins current rankings!  I know that you’re just as thrilled as I am.  Mostly I’m glad that today is about pointing out what we as a team are doing well.  Too many of my letters recently have been negative and while there are valid reasons for that (like, we’re one of the worst teams in the NFL), it disappoints me when I have to criticize.  I don’t like doing that.  I much prefer the letters that I wrote at the beginning of the 2008-09 season when I was, perhaps, less witty but enthusiastic with my praise.

Anyway, let’s get started:

Field Goals Made (tied for 1st/32):  Okay, before I get into the praising portion of this letter, let me say that this one statistic isn’t the only thing that we should be looking at in regards to Shaun Suisham.  We also have to look at the fact that he’s a Canadian (fail) and, slightly less importantly, he is SECOND-TO-LAST in the NFL for kickoff kickers.  Though our ability to score three points when our offense can’t make it into the red zone is pretty necessary to get any points on the board, having a kicker who can kick the ball right where we need it is way more important.  A good kicker gives the opposing team horrible starting field position and Suisham doesn’t cut it.  Which leads me into (finally) something we’re good at:

Kickoff Return Average (1st/32):  I realize that the complaint above would lead some to think that the Redskins’ opponents must start on our side of the field, BUT luckily our Special Teams are around to prevent opposing teams to capitalize on Suisham’s failings.  Well…they don’t always prevent them, but being in first place is good enough for me.

Fourth Down Percentage / Red Zone Percentage (2nd/32):  See, our defense does pretty well in general, but here are two categories where we’re exceptionally good; when the opposing team only needs a few yards to get the first down or the touchdown, we stop them more than almost every other team.  Can you imagine how many points would be scored on us if our red zone defense wasn’t so stellar?

Passing Yards Per Game (3rd/32) and Yards Per Game (5th/32):  Basically, our pass coverage is awesome thanks to players like Chris Horton, LaRon Landry, and Fred Smoot, but our ground coverage isn’t nearly so good—we’re 24th in the league for Rushing Yards Per Game allowed.  Since we appear to have the pass coverage down, why not focus a little on the rest, Zorn?  Probably I should be writing to Greg Blache about that, but really, aren’t you his boss?  Can’t you pass along the word?  What is it that you do over there now???

Sacks (6th/32): Thank Andre Carter for this one.  The way that he took down Donovan McNabb on Monday night made me want to bake him some cookies.  But then we lost the game and I lost the urge.  Still, it was pretty epic.

London Fletcher: Okay, he wasn’t on the list, but I should point out here that he leads the NFL in tackles for the season.  And he has a cool name.  Plus five for that.

There you go, Jim Zorn.  A (mostly) positive letter.  Enjoy it, because it’ll probably be the last one that you see until your good bye letter at the end of the season.

Happy reading over the bye week,


29 October 2009

We Need More Points So I Can Order From Papa John's

Dear Jim Zorn,

Surprise!  I’m writing to you again.  Really, I’m just curious as to what you were doing during our loss to the Eagles on Monday night—I saw you holding papers and things and trying to look busy, but what were you actually doing?  You weren’t calling plays, so I’m guessing that you were simply there to model the latest in Redskins game gear.   Burgundy has never looked so average.

While you were busy auditioning for America’s Next Top Tanned Coach, our offense began playing even worse than usual.  In his weblog, Rich Campbell posted the Redskins’ rankings for each major category this morning and I’m going to address the highlights because every once in a while I like to show that I care about stats and not just which Redskin is the hottest (answer: John Riggins.  Come on, don't deny that you want a piece).

Anyway, let’s look at where we suck first:

Punt Return Average (29th/32):
  I’ve said it before and I’m going to keep saying that Randle El is a TERRIBLE punt returner.  I’d like to see Santana Moss get in there because we might actually get some returns instead of fair catches.  On Monday night I realized that the reason why Randle El signals for the fair catch so often is because he’s afraid that the ball will hit him in the facemask, bounce onto the field, and be returned for a touchdown by an opposing player.  While it’s noble of him to not want that to happen, I’d much rather someone else return for us.  And average more than 4.5 lousy yards.

Sacks/Pass Attempt (28th/32):  Jason Campbell gets sacked more than once for every ten times that he tries to throw that darn ball.  This is because of a combination of things: a mediocre quarterback who can’t make snap decisions, poor play-calling, and an offensive line that, at this point, is mostly just offensive in general.  If things don’t get better, Jason Campbell is going to be another Patrick Ramsey.  I hear that until her was released October 3rd, he just sat on the bench in Tennessee, hugging himself and rocking back and forth, whimpering, “Can’t throw, people will sack me.  Can’t throw, people will sack me.”  All these years later, if anyone makes any sudden moves by him, Ramsey falls to the ground in the fetal position.  After his tenure here, I don’t blame him.  I’m actually impressed that he’s still alive after all the beatings that he took.

Interception Rate (29th/32):  This one is on the defense, of course.  It’s hard to blame them for being in 29th place, though, when our offense is getting intercepted on so often, thereby padding the rankings for every team that we play against.  Still, if we had actually intercepted every ball that our players almost intercepted, we would probably lead the league.  But “almost” only counts in horseshoes and drowning kittens (so what if I didn’t weight the bag down?  Judging by the flow in that river, they were definitely going to die sooner or later).

Points per Game (tied for 28th/32): We can’t score more than 17 points per game.  Do you know how that makes me feel?  Papa John’s has that awesome deal for one free topping per touchdown (it doubles the topping if we win, but I know better than to expect that) and so far it hasn’t been cost-effective to order for only two free toppings.  I want some pizza, dude.

Third Down Percentage (28th/32): 
We convert on third downs less than 30% of the time.  This is a MAJOR PROBLEM and I see it happening every week.  I don’t know if it’s Jason Campbell’s fault for who he throws/gives the ball to, the play-caller’s fault for telling him who to give the ball to, or the players’ faults for waiting for the ball ANYWHERE IN FRONT OF THE FIRST DOWN LINE.  Maybe on other teams it’s okay to expect a player to run anywhere between two and fifteen yards to make the first down, but OUR team can’t do that.  I’ve seen Jason throw to someone practically standing on the first down line and still not getting it.  He MUST throw the ball on third-and-long situations and he MUST throw the ball to someone outside the first down line.  Even if he misses (and hey, it’s likely), he has a much higher chance of getting the first down this way.

Okay, this letter has gotten away from me a little and become too long.  I know, Jim Zorn, that you have trouble reading anything that doesn’t have pictures, so I’ll save my thoughts on what we’re doing well for another day.

Just as surprised as you are that you're still getting letters,


27 October 2009

Go Back to Calling Bingo

Dear Sherman Lewis,

I don't know a whole lot about you except that you know the West Coast Offense and that you were calling bingo in your retirement.

Maybe you should go back to that.  Because I didn't see much of a difference between your play-calling and Zorn's last night.  We were still terrible.

And I had such high hopes, too.  :(

Also, what's so great about the West Coast Offense?  Seriously.  I want to go back to the good ol' days, back before Dan Snyder decided that he wanted West Coast and he'd hire someone as inexperienced as Zorn to get it.

Apologies for the short, boring letter, but I have not had even a sip of my gallon jug of Red Bull yet this morning and I'm tired.

Tell Cooley and Samuels that I hope they feel better,


26 October 2009

My Pre-Game Playlist

Dear Redskins,

Yes, I'm talking to all of you from the players to the coaches; even Shaun Suisham!  Here's the thing:  I feel great about tonight.  I really think that you're going to walk into FedEx Field and teach the Eagles a lesson and so I am totally pumped.  Pretty soon I'll be changing into my jeans and Clinton Portis jersey to drink with my friends and watch this game.  And it's going to be an awesome game.  I feel it.  I FEEL IT!

But I want you guys to feel it, too.  This is why I'm including a pre-game playlist to get you all as excited as I am.  Start here and proceed:

Enjoy it!



19 October 2009

Done. Kaput. Over.

Dear Jim Zorn,

Wow, tough break, guy.  I know that you’re catching a lot of guff from Dan Snyder and his henchmen on one side and irate fans on the other.  It's time to say good bye to the good old days.  You know by now where I stand, but I’m also here to give it to you straight.

Don’t trust Vinny Cerrato; I believe that this guy suffers from “I-wish-I-coulda-been-a-Head-Coachitis”, but knows that it’s better to be the devil’s right hand than to be the next one crossed off his list.  Cerrato knows that he has to blame our losses on you instead of on his terrible General Managing skills…although, to be fair, the losses are also your fault.

Cerrato has probably given you the impression that he’s on your side and that relieving you of play-calling duties was done to help you out.  You have way too much on your plate being Head Coach, Quarterbacks Coach, and Offensive Coordinator, he says and you agree.  But don’t you wonder at all why they’re stripping you of play-calling in particular?

Okay, sure, they’re not going to demote you from head coach.  It just isn’t done.   Once you’re a Head Coach, your only moves are to resign or get fired.  To keep yourself from getting fired, you agreed to let Sherman Lewis come in and oversee things.  That had to hurt.  But what should hurt more is the knowledge that you’re done.  Kaput.  Over.  The fat lady is singing.

Here’s why: You were originally hired to be the Offensive Coordinator, a bump up from your previous position as Quarterbacks Coach.  Then a couple weeks later when Snyder couldn’t find whoever he wanted, he just promoted you to Head Coach in a super obvious, “He’s-not-the-best-but-he’s-the-best-that-I-can-do” move.   The main job of the Offensive Coordinator is to call plays (I feel the necessity to explain this to you because, really, who are we kidding?  You very well might not know any of this); basically, the thing that you were supposed to be great at and the reason why you were hired is the very thing that they took from you.

Let me repeat that:  they just took away the one thing that they hired you to do (originally).  If that isn’t enough to get you to start looking for a new job, I don’t know what will.

Then again, I’m writing to the guy who thought that a Hail Mary play was a better call than a field goal attempt.  I mean, seriously?!  A Hail Mary play, by its definition, is a last chance resort!  You had another option and yes, I know that the other option was Shaun Suisham and, yes, I’m glad that you were finally listening to me about not relying on him, but even I would have made him kick that darn ball.  And I wouldn’t have let him have any water at halftime if he’d missed.  He would have either made it or learned his lesson when he got dehydrated.

Learning lessons is important, Jim Zorn.  Maybe you should try it some time.

Not surprised that you’re in this position,


P.S. So excited to see Todd Collins back in the game!

P.P.S.  So sad that Jason Campbell isn’t a good enough quarterback to stay in because I like him, too.   As a person, not as my quarterback.  He killed me in Fantasy Football points yesterday.  A negative two.  NEGATIVE TWO.

14 October 2009

There Are Plenty of Other Coaches Who Can Get a Tan!

Dear Jim Zorn,

I’m aware that I haven’t written to you in about two weeks; I’ve been busy with work and you’ve apparently been busy coming up with ways to hurt me.  Congratulations!  You were successful at something, finally.  After Sunday’s loss to the Carolina Panthers (seriously?  The Panthers?!), I laid in bed, prostrate with grief—okay, I didn’t.  But who could blame me if I did?  That game was brutal.  Everyone felt it.

It started out well enough.  As I tweeted during the game, Shaun Suisham’s opening kickoff got to the 2-yard line, which is pretty stellar in all honesty.  And you know how I hate praising him.  Everyone knows it; I’m not terribly subtle*.  Then on the very next play, Albert Haynesworth recovered that fumble and then Clinton Portis got a touchdown.  All in less than two minutes.

Aha! I thought.  The Panthers are even worse than us!  I was certain of victory.

Well, I was certainly wrong.

I could pin this on several mistakes made by our players, but I’m tired and don’t feel like it.  Except for mentioning that Shaun Suisham missed a tackle.  Yeah, he’s a kicker and a kick returner shouldn’t be able to get past all the rest of our guys and leave it to the guy wearing only one shoe, but I just wanted to give you another reason to fire him.  We have to cut our losses somewhere and I think that we should start with him.

So I’m going to pin this loss elsewhere: on you, Jim Zorn.  That’s right, your charming witticisms and fake bake tan have only gotten you so far with me and now it’s done.  You’re not special!  There are plenty of other coaches in the league who can get a tan!  And I want Dan Snyder to go ahead and get me one of them.

Actually, strike that.  I don’t even care if our next coach can get a tan.  I’d rather that he just KNOW HOW TO COACH A PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL TEAM.

And so farewell, Jim Zorn.  Sure, you’ll get more letters from me; I’m nothing if not persistent, after all.  But I’m not counting on Dan Snyder sticking by your side at the end of the season.  So even if you keep your job through the next eleven games…well…perhaps you won’t be done in the league.  Maybe Seattle will take you back as a Quarterback Coach.

Probably not, though.

Bitterly disappointed once again,


P.S.  I take back everything if we finish out the regular season at 13-3.  Kthxbai.

*This picture may or may not depict real life.**
**It doesn't.

11 October 2009

Tweet, Tweet

Dear Redskins,

I'll be tweeting during the entire game.  Lots and lots of tweets.  Be ready.


Favorite place that.  You'll thank me later.