The Past vs The Future

     When this season starts for the Washington Redskins, there will be a new QB under center, as Kirk Cousins, to put it in Lebron James terms, took his talents to Minnesota to join the Vikings after 3+ years of being the starting QB of the Redskins, in his place comes former 49ers #1 overall pick and Kansas City Chief QB Alex Smith. cousins vikingsThe question is, are the Redskins improving or making a lateral movement at QB. In my opinion, to accurately determine this, you must take look at his stats through the same time period for each player, so in this case, we have to look through both players
first 57 starts.

Through 57 starts:

Kirk Cousins: 65.5% completions 16,206 yards 99 TD 55 INT 26-30-1 as a starter

Alex Smith: 57.6% completions 10,400 yards 59 TD 55 INT 25-32 as a starter

     Through first glance at Alex’s stats, it seems like it would be a step back compared to Kirk, but Alex didn’t have the right coaches around him, his first head coach in the league was Mike Nolan who was fired during his fourth year in the league and then smith1dealt with 2+ years under Mike Singletary. He was thought to be a bust, that was until the Niners hired a college coach who never had NFL coaching experience in Jim Harbaugh. Fortunately for Smith, it was the first time in his career where he had the right leader and was able to find success.

     In his first season under Harbaugh, Smiths stats were 3144 yards with 17 TD’s. Career highs for Smith, and then Smith was sent to KC where he learned under Andy Reid and became the player he was supposed to be when he was drafted. He comes to DC after a super successful run in KC where he helped lead the Chiefs to the playoffs 4 of the last 5 years, whereas Cousins has been to the playoffs once as a full-time starter back in 2015.

     I believe that when it comes to which Alex Smith we will get, we will get the Kansas City Chiefs version, the most successful version of him especially with Jay Gruden leading the team. My prediction for next season is that we will be between 9-7 and maybe 11-5 with a playoff berth. I do believe that it is an improvement at the QB position for the Redskins even if it is just a tiny bit of an improvement.

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Enjoying a movie with an NFL player and getting to know him a little.

     Last Monday, I came across a post on Instagram from Redskins rookie Running Back Derrius Guice. Guice is the Redskins second-round pick out of LSU, he was regarded as the best running back in the draft coming into the draft. He posted that IMG-3529he would be out at the Alamo Drafthouse in Ashburn for the 8:00 showing of Avengers Infinity War and was inviting a few local fans to join him at the theater. As soon as I saw that post I knew I had to go. Derrius walked up to the theater around 7:30 and spent the next 30 minutes taking pictures and signing autographs with a few dozen fans. From the minute he walked up to the time we left following the movie, I could tell that he is a great guy and that whoever said that he had character issues didn’t know what they were talking about.

     The first thing that impressed me about him was that he was more focused on the fans and taking pictures and signing autographs then getting into the movie on time. He made sure that every fan there got an autograph and a picture. As we got into the guicetheater to sit down and enjoy the movie, he leaned over and told everyone that food and drinks would be on him. When he said that, I couldn’t believe my ears. I only thought he would buy tickets, but to buy food for everyone really surprised me.

     Following the movie, I managed to sneak in a few questions with the rookie Running Back:

1. Sports Guru: What was your reaction to being drafted by the Redskins?
Derrius Guice: My Reaction to the redskins drafting me was shocking and calming. I was relieved. I felt like my home called me. My brothers called me.

2. SG: What was going through your mind during the draft until you got the call?
DG: Why is this happening to me? Why am I sliding in this draft?

3. SG: How well do you think you will fit into the team’s running scheme?
DG: I will fit perfectly in this scheme to complement the other backs and blockers.

4. SG: What was your visit like to D.C. during the pre-draft process?
DG: Me and [Da’Ron] Payne were both on our visits at the same time and never expected to both be right back here a few weeks later apart of the team.

5. SG: What gave you the idea to buy 50 tickets for you and fans to see Avengers?
DG: I just felt like watching a movie that day and said why not have a few fans come as well.

     The analysists got him wrong, he is a great guy and has such great character, and he will go out there every week to prove his doubters wrong.

Free Agency Mayhem

     As the first week of free agency in the NFL ends, many teams gained certain pieces to help push them toward contender and others lost pieces and fell toward mediocrity. The biggest winner of the first week has to be the Minnesota Vikings once cousinsminnesotathey signed top free agent QB Kirk Cousins from the Redskins for 3 years and $84 million. This move did not shock many people around the NFL or the fans, since it was well publicized that Cousins would be on the move especially with the Redskins acquiring Alex Smith from the Kansas City Chiefs for Kendall Fuller and a third-round pick, what did shock a lot of people was that the contract was fully guaranteed. With this contract, it would make him the highest paid player in NFL history on a per season basis with him earning $28 million a year.

     The first couple of surprises come from one player, Richard Sherman. The first surprise was the Seattle Seahawks released their star player. With this move, it sherman49erseffectively ended the Legion Of Boom. The next surprising move for Sherman was that he decided to sign with the San Fransisco 49ers, a team that Sherman and the Seahawks have owned in the recent years. Sherman signed with the 49ers for three years and $27 million. I believe that this is the best team the 49ers have had since Harbaugh was there. They are also taking momentum into next season since they ended the season on a 5 game winning streak and winning 6 of 7 after starting the season 0-9, it also helps that they have a good QB cemented as the starter for the next five years with Jimmy Garoppolo after he signed the extension in February.

     Another big free agency move was the Arizona Cardinals releasing the Honey Badger Tyrann Mathieu after he would not accept a pay cut. The Cardinals took a honeybadgerchance on him in the third round back in 2013 after he was kicked off the football team at LSU. While in Arizona, Mathieu has impressed many with his ability to find the ball. As a Cardinal he had 307 tackles, 11 interceptions, 4 sacks, 4 forced fumbles and 41 passes defended. Shortly after his release from the Cardinals, Mathieu signed a one year $7 million contract with the Houston Texans to help bolster that secondary.

Other notable free agent moves:
-QB Sam Bradford one year deal with the Cardinals worth $20 million coming over from Minnesota, Bradford is now on his fourth team in four years after spending his first four years in St. Louis where the Rams took him 1st overall out of Oklahoma.

-QB Mike Glennon two year deal with the Cardinals worth $8 million coming from Chicago after one year.

-WR Michael Crabtree three year deal with the Ravens worth $21 million coming over from Oakland.

-QB Aj McCarron two year deal with Bills worth $10 million coming over from the Bengals. Buffalo was in need of QB after trading starter Tyrod Taylor to the Browns. (I’ll go over that in another post)

-WR Allen Robinson three year deal with Chicago worth $42 million coming over from Jacksonville.

-RB Carlos Hyde three year deal with Cleveland worth $15 million coming over from San Fransisco.

-QB Case Keenum two year deal with Denver worth $36 million coming over from Minnesota.

-RB LaGarrette Blount one year deal with Detroit worth $4.5 million coming over from Philadelphia.

-TE Jimmy Graham three year deal with Greenbay worth $30 million coming over from Seattle.

-RB Dion Lewis four year deal with Tennessee worth $20 million coming over from New England.

-CB Malcolm Butler five year deal with Tennessee worth $61.25 million also coming over from New England.

Franchise savior or same stupid front office mistake?

     Late Tuesday night, the Washington Redskins shocked the NFL with trading for Kansas City Chiefs QB Alex Smith in exchange for a third-round pick and rising staralexsmith Cornerback Kendall Fuller.

     With the acquisition of Smith, it means that the era of Captain Kirk for the Redskins is over. It also means the end of a period of speculation among fans and sports reporters on is Cousins going to resign or not. Later that night, it was reported that Smith and the Redskins have agreed to a 4-year extension to go along with the 1 year left on his current contract.

     For his career, Alex has a 62.4% completion with 31,888 yards 183 touchdowns and 96 interceptions. Hopefully, he will be able to duplicate his success in Washington that he had in Kansas City. With this signaling the end of the Kirk Cousins era, “Captain” Kirk finishes his Redskins career with completing 65.5% of his passes to go along with 16,206 yards, 99 touchdowns, and 55 interceptions.

     As a Redskins fan myself, I have mixed emotions regarding this trade. I am happy that there is no question about our starting QB position and that we have a committed QB. I am upset about this trade, like many other Redskins fans, due to the fact that the Skins gave up a young talent cornerback in Kendall Fuller. Kendall isfuller coming off the best season of his young career when he led the team in interceptions with 4 picks.

     As many people around the league and the fans know, the defense of the Redskins is not good at all. Yes, the defense is below average. So it doesn’t make sense to me to trade one of your best young defensive players to get a QB that is about to turn 34 years old. Yes, the team needs a solid option at QB, but I believe that it shouldn’t cost you one of your best young players, especially when it comes on the side of the ball that has hurt your team for years.

     I will not be 100% sold on this trade until I see Smith lead this team past the Wild Card round of the playoffs and have continuous success. This isn’t the first timesadrg3 that the Redskins have traded for a QB. Before the 2010 season, they traded for rivalsadmcnabb QB Donovan Mcnabb from the Eagles, two years later, the Redskins traded the farm to get the second overall pick from the then St. Louis Rams to select RG3 out of Baylor. The only difference between Mcnabb’s time in Washington and RG3’s time in Washington is that RG3 got us to the playoffs, but after that, it went downhill fast. Hopefully, third time is the charm and Alex Smith can be what the Redskins were looking for.

     Let’s hope that the front office got this trade right and finally got the right QB, or it is going to be a long season next year and potentially a long few seasons.

The DC postseason sports curse. Is it real or do we need something to blame the lack of success on?

           As many sports fans inside the DMV and around the country have seen, the big 4 sports teams in DC, the Nationals, the Redskins, the Caps, and the Wizards, have had a rough time advancing in the playoffs since the beginning of the century. Since 2000, any of those four teams have only made it past the first round of their respected playoffs only 6 times, with the Wizards and Capitals having the most recent trips. The Redskins have not been past the first round in over ten years. They have lost three straight first-round games. The Nationals, even though they are technically a young franchise, haven’t been able to get past the NLDS in the three trips that they took.

           The Redskins haven’t been deep into the playoffs, getting to the conference championship or Super Bowl, since the first go around of the Joe Gibbs era when sad redskinsthey won Super Bowl 26 back in 1992. Since they won that Super Bowl, their playoff record is 3-6 with more losing seasons (13) than playoff trips (6). The Redskins are just cursed in general since Dan Snyder bought the team in the offseason before 1999. The team has gone through 8 head coaches, with the longest tenure for a head coach being four years.

           Before 2005, baseball had not been in the District since 1971 when the then Washington Senators left to become the Texas Rangers. In 2005, the Montreal Expos moved to DC and became the Nationals, but for the next seven years they rarely saw sad nationalssuccess, claimed the top pick in the draft twice and never saw the postseason. In 2012, the young franchise won the NL East for the first time since 1981, when they were the Expos, and finally reached the postseason and were the top team in all of Major League Baseball with a record of 98-64, and would face the St. Louis Cardinals in the NLDS, but would fall 2 games to 3. It would not get any better as the team would make the playoffs in 2014,16, and 17. All were NLDS exits. This franchise has been picked to at least get to the World Series the last 4 years, but have disappointed.

               The Capitals have had the most success out of all D.C. sports teams with getting to the playoffs and getting to at least the second round. The Capitals also have the last league championship appearance of the four teams when they reached the Stanley Cup championship against the Red Wings in the 1997-98 season, but since then, they have sad capitalsonly gotten to the second round. In every second round appearance, the team managed to get into a winner take all game 7, and have lost every game 7.

               The Wizards have only 7 postseason appearances since 2000, with 3 of them coming in the last four years. The Wizards have not been passed the second round of the playoffs since the ’78-’79 season when they were the Washington Bullets when they got to the NBA Finals against the Seattle Supersonics, which was a rematch of the sad wizardsprevious, which the Bullets won and would be the only title that the franchise has to this day. Lately, the team looks like they are getting better and could potentially break the curse of not just getting past the second round for any DC team, but could potentially end the Districts championship drought.

          Whoever cursed the teams in the DC area, probably got the idea to curse the town from the Chicago Goat curse, which many believed that it was the reason for the 108 year drought for the Chicago Cubs or from when Bobby Layne, a QB for the Detroit Lions in the late 50’s, cursed the team when they traded him to the Steelers.

Redskins training camp interviews part 4: DJ Swearinger

         In the final installment of the Redskins training camp interview series, my sight is set on the tenacious hard hitting 5th year safety out of South Carolina in DJ Swearinger. Swearinger comes to the Redskins after spending a little over a year in Arizona with the Cardinals. He was drafted out of South Carolina in the 2nd round of the 2013 draft when the Houston Texans picked him. After two okay seasons with the Texans, Swearinger would go on to sign with the Buccaneers, but would only last 7 games with them and then moved on to the Arizona Cardinals, where he began to show promise of a good player.

How does it feel to be playing alongside your former high school teammate in josh Norman?

“It means a lot, man, it means a lot. We hold Greenwood high. You know, small normanswearingercountry town. We’ve got a lot of talent in Greenwood and to have two guys on the same team from Greenwood is amazing, man. I can’t wait to get back out there with Josh and do what we used to do.”

On if he could have imagined playing with Norman in the NFL:

“It’s kind of crazy because I got drafted with a high school teammate in Houston, Sam Montgomery. So, I don’t know how that can happen – I got drafted with a high school teammate and end up coming to play with another high school teammate, which is very rare. But, it happened and it’s a blessing that it happened this way.”

What motivates you to play as hard as you do dating back to your Gamecock days?

“I have to bring that because I’m a natural born leader. My mom always told me to lead, not to follow. That’s what I’m doing here. We’ve got an excellent opportunity swearingercollegeevery day, man, when we go out there on that field. It’s a blessing to be out there, so why not give your all, give it high energy and give the energy that feeds off others? That’s what I try to do, and I’ll keep continuing to do that.”

 

I want to thank Adam Winkler, of WTKR in Norfolk, for passing along my questions for Redskins Training camp. @Adamwinksports

 

Redskins training camp interviews part 3: Jay Gruden

                In part 3 of the training camp interview series, I passed a long a question to Adam to ask the Redskins Head Coach Jay Gruden. Gruden begins his fourth season as the head man of this franchise.  In his first three seasons, Coach Gruden has lead the team to a record of 21-26-1 with one division title, a playoff loss to the Packers and two straight winning seasons. Over his tenure, Gruden has gotten this team to play at a higher level than they have played in recent years. Cough*Shanahan & Zorn Era*cough cough. In this season, Gruden has a new Defensive Coordinator for the second time in the last three years, and third coordinator over his tenure. Greg manuskyManusky has been promoted to Defensive Coordinator after being LB coach for the last few years. For the first time since he got here, Gruden will have a new Offensive Coordinator, in Matt Cavanaugh, after Sean McVay left to take over the HC position out in LA for the Rams. This team has changed so much under Gruden’s leadership, since Mike Shanahan lead this team.

 Do you feel confident with this year’s team on both sides of the ball with both coordinators being replaced and having to replace huge playmakers on the offensive side?

cavanaugh2

        “I think that’s what the offseason was for the new coaches to get acclimated to how we do things, how we practice, how we prepare, acclimated to the system and meetings with the coordinators and all that good stuff. I feel good that all the coaches are up to speed and confident in what they can do. We have a great staff, great new additions I feel good about, now it’s just a matter of getting the most out of the players, and that’s our job as coaches.”

 

     In the final installment of this series, the focus will be on one of the new members of the secondary in DJ Swearinger the tenacious, hard hitting 5th year full safety out of South Carolina who was with the Cardinals last year.dj