Double Donks…A Redskins Rant

Its an interesting time within the DTC walls. The Washington Redskins are 4-2, sitting on top of the NFC East with one of the best defenses in the league and one of the better rushing attacks. However everywhere you look around this city, you’d think the Redskins were 1-5 and had zero hope this season.

For example, two of DTC’s very own, Joe and Steve, hereby referred as “the double donks” think Blake Bortles is better than Alex Smith. Joe can’t stop crying for Pierre Garcon to come back, and somehow a healthy, untargeted Jordan Reed is all of a sudden a bad player. Maybe these double donks forgot what life was like as a Redskins fan half a decade ago. Sure you caught lightning in a bottle in 2012. Sure once Kirk Cousins took over and began slinging the ball around the offense was fun to watch. Sure Sean McVay was being brilliant working under Gruden. But if you look deeper, you’ll realize this 2018 Redskins team is better.

Are the Redskins flashy on the offensive side of the ball? Not even close. Do they have the ability to all of a sudden figure things out and start clicking? Absolutely.  I’d like to see the double donks, or anyone come into a complicated system, such as Jay Gruden’s and excel at playing the most difficult position in professional sports. Alex Smith is not flashy, but he is also your steady hand. A steady hand that helped the Redskins beat a Panthers team, and helped FINALLY beat the Cowboys in what seems like forever. Notice I’m saying “helped”. I acknowledge we need more, but I’m also not blinded to the fact that more will inevitably come.

Alex in my book, still gets a pass. He has a lot to learn, and plenty of relationships and chemistry to develop with his skill players. Now — in regards to these “skill” players. That is where we can agree we’re lacking. Would I (FP) like to see the Redskins go out and bring in a stud WR1? You bet your ass I would. Am I thankful we didn’t go about it the same way the stupid Cowboys did? HAIL YEAH (I had too). Right now the wide receivers are capable of making plays. Richardson can break a route and make a huge play. Crowder has shown, when healthy, that he can be a force in the slot.

Really everyone’s concern  is Doctson. Yes, he’s struggled mightily and isn’t playing to the expectation a first round pick should, but maybe, just maybe, Gruden has been using him wrong this entire time. The narrative has always been that Doctson is an elite talent at climbing up and making a play on the ball. “Throw him the 50/50 balls! He’ll get those!” Wrong. He has shown he can’t be that receiver. This past Sunday against the Cowboys, who have strength in the middle of their defense, Doctson made SOME plays. He showed he can be a “possession receiver”. Use him on a couple more inside routes, and I’ll bet his stat lines look better.

Lets keep debunking these two double donks and the rest of the “fans” who are for some reason, UPSET AT A 4-2 REDSKINS TEAM. I’ve heard people complain about Reed not being the elite TE he needs to be. He doesn’t throw blocks, he doesn’t pass protect, he doesn’t make guys miss and make electrifying plays. Look, the guy is finally healthy for the first time in who knows how many years. What that sentence should tell you is this: He was going MAYBE half speed during training camp. Taking it easy. Not working in pre-season, not establishing – you guessed it – chemistry with Alex Smith. Jordan Reed shouldn’t have to “prove” himself to anyone at this point. Stay healthy, keep practicing and eventually the big plays will come.

Finally, the running game. Adrian Peterson. AP. AD. All Day. What a sight for sore eyes. FINALLY a running back that can capitalize on the dominance our offensive line has become.  Unless of course, you’re one of the two donks who think its not a good sign that we rely on our “aged” running back. That eventually he’ll get hurt. That “this is 2018, we need to pass for 9000 yards to succeed!” Maybe you forgot about Kareem Hunt. Or Todd Gurley. Maybe you didn’t pay attention last year when a New Orleans Saints team, with two dynamic running backs went deep into the playoffs. OR in 2016 when nobody was used to this RB called Zeke and he carried the Cowboys to the playoffs. How about this Steelers running back name Le’Veon Bell? Did he help his team at all? Yes — the NFL has becoming a passing league. Yes — you are an idiot if you don’t think a playoff caliber team needs a strong run game.

This team isn’t perfect. We all know that. But guess what…the Defense is pretty damn special. So much so, that I didn’t even have to mention them in this post. Everyone, including the double donks can see they are playing at an elite level. The offense — while sputtering out, struggling, and not doing anything in any second half of any game is concerning, its not disheartening. Points are being put on the board. Costly mistakes aren’t being made. Slow and steady isn’t a BAD thing. Give this team a little bit longer. I bet once we’re 7-2 things will look brighter.

DTC’s 53 Man Prediction

As always the contributors at Defeating the Curse can never agree on a final 53 man roster for the Washington Redskins.  With Preseason now wrapped up, the Redskins need to come up with their final roster to suit up for September 9th game in Arizona. We put the big 4 – LP, FP, Joe and Steve,  up to the task of creating and agreeing (or not ) on a 53 man roster. Here is what they came up with:

QBs (2): Smith, McCoy

All agree here, Joe is a Kevin Hogan guy but the Redskins can’t afford a 3rd QB

RBs (4): Peterson, Thompson, Kelley, Bibbs

LP would rather have Perine over Kelley, however the fumbling issues we think ultimately cost him a roster spot. FP is good with the 4 RBs on the roster but wants to add a FB to the mix to help Peterson. Is that worth the cost a roster spot somewhere else on the team? Steve is a Byron Marshall fan and offered a semi wise suggestion: Maybe you put Byron Marshall on PUP and release Bibbs and go without a CT backup for the first few weeks of the season.

WRs (6): Richardson, Doctson, Crowder, Harris, Quinn, Sims

There was much debate as to whether the Alabama WR preseason standout, Cam Sims should make the team over veteran Brian Quick. Ultimately it comes down to the fact that you know what you are getting with Quick and that’s not that good. There is a much higher ceiling with Sims. We all know what Steve and Joe think of Brian Quick, or not so quick. FP has officially been inducted to the Trey Quinn fan club.

Tight Ends (3): Reed, Davis, Sprinkle

No debate here. Can Reed stay healthy and can Sprinkle be more than just a blocker are the biggest questions.

Offensive Line (8): Williams, Lauvao, Roullier, Scherf, Moses, Nsehke, Christian, Bergstrom

The decision here was to go with 8 OL, because we all agree that there needs to be an upgrade at LG at some point. You can’t trust Lauvao will stay healthy enough to play more than 8 games and frankly it’s a glaring hole that NEEDS to be addressed.

Defensive Line (6): Allen, Payne, Ioannidis, Lanier, Settle, Hood

FP has been high on the Phil Taylor return train, but it’s been too long and the Redskins have gone much younger at the position. A weakness last year has become a strength. Joe has Settle winning defensive rookie of the year.

OLB (5): Kerrigan, Smith, McPhee, Anderson, Robertson

No debate here, these are clearly the best 5 OLBs on the team. Robertson has shown some versatility and can play special teams, that gets him on this roster.

ILB (5): Brown, Foster, Spaight, Dion-Hamilton, Harvey-Clemons

After a much heated debate as to who would be the 5th ILB, Harvery-Clemons or Zach Vigil, LP decided to go with Harvey-Clemons because of his versatility. Harvey-Clemons can be what the Redskins thought Sua Cravens was going to be when they drafted him in 2016.

CB (6): Norman, Dunbar, Moreau, Johnson, Alexander, Stroman

Yet another debate on if the Redskins should keep 5 or 6 at this position. Stroman shows kick and punt return ability and he’s a VT product. We all know how much Torrian Gray likes his VT guys.

Safety (4): Swearinger, Nicholson, Everett, Apke

Apke has looked very shaky during the preseason but he’s got some raw talent. It will be up to the coaching staff to get him ready to play a larger role in 2019.

Specialists (3): Way, Sundberg, Hopkins

Do we really need to discuss this?

That leaves one more pick open here’s where the guys could just not agree:

LP: Add Perine to the 53

FP: Bring in his J.P. Holtz as FB for Peterson

Joe: Add someone from his beloved Browns roster

Steve: Is John Riggins available?

DC: District of Champions

From coming back from 0-2 against Columbus to defeating their arch rivals in Pittsburgh to beating the hottest team in hockey in the Golden Knights to more recently finding their homes/beds after a 24 hour bender across the DC area, these Capitals have shown they are up for every challenge that comes their way. And as the Hurricane Ovechkin party tour winds down and these players go their separate ways for the offseason, they leave behind a city that has now tasted victory and wants more of it. So the real question for this Capitals team is this: can they transform this city into the “District of Champions”?Screen Shot 2018-06-14 at 11.14.42 PM.png

To do so, they would have to have left some of that championship mojo back at Nats Park after celebrating with the Cup (and a few dozen beers) at Saturday’s game. The Caps Stanley Cup championship coupled with this iteration of a powerhouse roster for the Nats give this city its best chance at back to back titles in the 4 major professional sports. Could the Nationals do the unthinkable and hoist the World Series trophy only 6 months after DC hoists the Stanley Cup? It’s very possible but in order to do so, the Nats will have needed to learn a few things from their drunken compadres on the ice.

The first lesson from this Stanley Cup run is that stars need to play like stars when it counts most. For all the talk of Ovechkin disappearing in big games, he, along with Kuzy, Backstrom, and Wilson, were all over the stat sheet throughout the playoff run and specifically the series against the Golden Knights. The Nats will need their superstars to step up come playoff time, meaning Max Scherzer will need to make up for last year’s disastrous Game 5 showing against Chicago and Bryce will need to bat better than his current .231 average.

Secondly, coaches must coach to win and not just to not lose. No decision made more of an impact in this playoff run than Barry Trotz’s decision to bench goalie Philip Grubhauer for backup Braden Holtby. Holtby rewarded the coach’s gutsy decision with incredible performances, including back to back shutouts against Tampa Bay to save that series. In years past, Nats managers, riddled with crazy high expectations, have coached scared, not willing to shake things up when things seemed perilous. In order to win the big one, Davey Martinez and his staff will need to make tough calls and be wiling to shake things up when need be.

Finally, the greatest lesson from the Capitals playoff run is just how much this city will get behind a championship team. For all of the haters and naysayers (looking at you Wilbon) that call DC a “minor league sports town”, this Stanley Cup run showed just how hungry this city is for a winner and the lengths we are willing to go to root them on and carry them to victory. So the Nats would be wise to remember that come October, that if they can get over the proverbial hump (insert Camel joke here), then they will be showered with the most insane love and gratitude and loyalty that this city has to offer. And for a city not known for its loyalty, that ain’t nothing.

The Juan Soto / Bryce Harper Dilemma

Juan Soto capped his first home run trout with a classic Bryce Harper hair flip – needless to say Soto does not have any hair endorsement deals. Nonetheless that moment may have signified the passing of the torch from one superstar to another potential superstar. Was Soto subtly announcing himself as the new Bryce Harper? The similarities don’t end with just hair flips. The rise of Soto may seal Bryce’s fate as a National.

Screen Shot 2018-05-29 at 1.40.51 AM

Let’s first compare these two players. Harper and Soto both reached the minor leagues as teenagers – at the same ripe age of 19. While there, they also performed outstandingly and achieved similar numbers. Soto’s numbers in the minor leagues were .362/.434/.609 compared to Harper’s .397/.521/.917. In addition, although we’re working with a small sample size, Soto’s current slash line for the major leagues is just as impressive as Harper’s, with numbers like .286/.400/.571. Perhaps most significantly, however, they are also both outfielders.

With players like Soto, the reality is that the Nationals may not need Harper in the outfielder position any longer. In fact, Soto might not even be the Nationals best outfielder prospect – Victor Robles, for instance, is regarded as a top 5 prospect in all of baseball. The Nationals outfield has the potential to be made up of an impressive young group of players as early as soon as the start of next season, with players like Eaton, Taylor, Soto, Goodwin, and Robles all there. Since Soto and Robles are going to be cheap young talent for years to come, it’s hard to imagine the Nationals spending record money to keep a player in a position where the team is already pretty deep.

It’s also important to remember that Bryce is not the only big free agent that the Nationals will need to make a decision on during this offseason. Gio Gonzalez is also a free agent, and the Nationals will need to spend a large amount of money to resign or replace him with a comparable third line starter – all of which will take funds away from potentially resigning Bryce. In addition, the free agent Daniel Murphy may also need to be resigned or replaced if it’s decided that Wilmer Difo cannot adequately replace him.

Overall, the fast rise of Soto, the potential of Robles, and the need to replace other free agents are all factors that make it ever more likely that Bryce will leave the Nationals after this season. While his departure would mark the end of one chapter in the Nationals book, it would also symbolize the start of a new and exciting chapter led by Soto and Robles.

Golden Knights Win; Capitals Score 4; Vegas Pregame; Warriors to NBA Finals

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-whtdx-92258c

The #Capitals had two different chances to win game one by holding on to a one goal lead… twice… but couldn’t do it and the #GoldenKnights took the win. The studs on both sides played “ok” but nobody expected a 10-goal shootout. #Vegas is fast but #DC may be more encouraged than discouraged in the end. Joe is joined by Ashley from @VGKladies to discuss game one in detail and share her perspective from inside of Tmobile Arena in downtown #LasVegas. Hockey fans everywhere should be excited about this Final… just as NBA fans should be disappointed that #Cavs vs #Warriors is our NBA Final for the fourth straight time.