Friday, February 27, 2009

Celebrating Christmas in February!

If you happen to be one of the new subscribers to the most positive twitter feed in the region (see newest widget to your right, and add away), you will notice a marked enthusiasm from us about the Redskins' latest delving into the waters of free agency. Despite what many of the sayers of nea were harping on regarding the cap situation, the hightened salaries, poor economy, presence of Vinny Cerrato etc., Dan Snyder still managed to obtain the highest-regarded player in free agency, Albert Haynesworth, while still retaining that lovely late season playmaker D'Angelo Hall, and STILL remaining in the running for totally-welcome-back pulling guard Derrick Dockery. Noticing needs for a more destructive defense, big D (meaning Snyder, not the Sportscenter-ticker-dominating 'boys) didn't stand pat, nor did he tear anything down, nor sacrifice any future, nor disrupt any past gains. No, he went out and made this team better for its millions of high-price paying fans, doling out even more millions to improve a product we have always felt was on the cusp of greatness.

What is there to gripe about when it comes to signing Haynesworth to the biggest contract for a defensive player in league history? If you asked one of the quibbling Jasons from the Post, they may reply with details of the salary cap problems that the skins were supposed to be mired in for centuries to come. They may liken giving this contract-year guy enormous dollars to giving the scourge that is Dana Stubblefield enormous dollars (yet denying him his proper performance-enhancing drug budget). They may dismiss the signing as ornament-grabbing business-as-usual for D-Snydes and his raquetball cronies, who think a large, expensive band-aid will fix what years of maligned drafting and fluctuating management have wounded.

But if you ask our contingent of 'tism, we would express nothing but the deepest of excitement for this move and its ramifacations throughout the league. With this signing, the retention of a now-healthy Jason Taylor and Cornelius Griffin, and the tendering of draft picks Anthony Montgomery and Kedric Golston, the skins have formidable-ized their defensive line, which in the past had been a softer spot of their still-top-five-in-the-league defense. The re-upping of Hall enhances that continuity portion of the team that everyone continues to think is barren. That fantastic secondary ought to have plenty more opportunities to intercept Tony Romo once these QB eaters begin their weekly blocker sheddings and pain causings. Pockets will collapse, and mistakes will be increased. Turnovers (and dropped turnovers if you are Carlos Rogers) will increase, field position will enhance, and FedEx Field game announcer Mark Kessler will likely bring back his decrepit "It's thiiiiiiiiiird down aaaannnddd llloooooooongg!" chant, which will now not result in an instant first down for the opposition.

With the Haynesworth signing, the skins can concentrate their full complement of draft picks on another maligned portion of the team: the offensive line. The harrumphing at the hog-less ones has been heard (ha-literation!), and with a draft that seems to be pregnant with O-line talent, a first-round selection in the realm of combine Columbiner Andre Davis or Michael Lewis-inspiring Michael Oher ought to add more blue-chip talent to a rugged veteran line eager to teach. If you read Lewis's Oher biography-slash-Joe Theisman broken leg autopsy book "The Blindside" you may recall current skin John Jansen supplying Oher with clothes and shoes during the kid's insanely huge development period. The draft-stock dropping Davis is another in the long line of Crimson Tide Tackles, whose lineage includes current pro-bowl, and happily restructuring tackle Chris Samuels. I envision Samuels taking the troubled Davis under his giant sack-preventing wing, schooling the youngster on how to be awesome when not hurt. I envision either of these SEC giants to fit in nicely as a result of these ties. Plus, if there are enough dollars left to bring back Dockery, not only does that fill that gaping Guard hole, but it also returns a locker room good guy to the skins. The youthful exuberance of Chad Rinehart and Stephon Heyer ought to remain properly tutored by Joe Bugel, and should be ready for insertion if an unfortunate bump or bruise happens.

But most of all, these signings return the skins and their wonderful fanbase to those great, Christmas-like days of previous years, when you went to sleep to John Clayton theorizing and woke up to burgundy-and-gold-wrapped presents filled with newly-signed hope and promise. If you don't even feel a tingle of excitement, friends, we can only call you scrooge. Don't the skins boast some of the highest team revenues on the planet? Don't they charge you pretty much a small fortune to attend games, purchase hooded sweatshirts, and drink beer? Why shouldn't they splurge on what the team needs the most? Anybody with a problem with competitive spending can go quietly hum "ba humbug" to him or herself at their new favorite team's now-packed games. We'll stay singing "Deck the D-Halls", or some other potential Chris Paul-inspiring holiday song.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Wiz Trade Deadline Grade: A

There is a contingent of people in the local sports press who may have written off the temporarily moribund Wiz. They have been called every "inept" synonym the thesaurus holds during their current cold streak. It seemed like every facet of their structure, from the decision makers to the coaches to the scouts to the few un-injured players left on the squad, should all be let go, replaced with expiring contracts, first round draft choices, and Ja Vale McGee's fully developed future self. With this season a lost cause, why not take apart the entire thing, scrub the salvagable parts, and replace everything with young, cheap, and Hollinger-approved.

The general consensus among those who attempt to report on the Wiz was, whatever deal was on the table, take it, you don't want to lose out on that potential number one pick. But the Wizards, and us here at the DCO, felt differently. The Wizards head-of-everything Manager Ernie Grunfeld felt that this team was perfect as constructed, and none of those trades that all of the NBA would have loved to execute were viable. And for this faith-in-the-Wiz philosophy, Ernie Grunfeld and his pat-staying Wiz have earned a coveted "A" grade from our own team of brilliant draft analysts.

While our draft analysts tend to often be correct in their respective analyses, there really aren't experts on the whole, knowing of Abe Pollin's exact thoughts thing. But we do know that if this potential trade would have been made, a trade both the yammerers of the media and, apparently, executives of NBA teams discussed ad nauseum, it would have destroyed the entire public's desire to ever take in an NBA basketball game.

Trading Antawn Jamison to the Cleveland "Crabaliers"(copyright Carter), would have made the entire National Basketball Association Incorporated become fraudulant. It would have taken something as perfectly American as loyalty seem forbidden. If Ernie Grunfeld would have listened to this contingent of unimaginable opinions, he would have squeezed any viable worthiness out of the league for good.

Yet Grunfeld, harboring DCO HOF-worthy steadfastness, resisted the marketing machinery. He kept his currently slumping Wiz team intact, knowing that full recoveries would lead to that winning tradition, built by Grunfeld et. al. He didn't give those a**holes Antawn. Not even if the referees fix the outcome completely will the Wizards hand-deliver the Cavaliers anything. NOPE!

As someone who "WITNESSED" the last time the Cavaliers played and lost to the Wiz, I know that there is only one team in the NBA that continues to remain either morally, or outcome-ly victorious in this match-up; and it's the Wiz. Again, the Wizards stood victorious. The Cavs couldn't even get a referee to rule favorably for them and execute that trade. One wonders whether David Stern himself blew a whistle during the phone call between the teams, and had Boobie Gibson execute the trade from the free throw line. We are positive that LeBron was crying while refreshing that NBA trade rumors page on worldwide dot com. Again, the Wizards emerge victorious over the least-appealing team in the NBA.

Naturally, the Wizards have been inspired by this tism-riffic victory. We know that current Wizards boss Ed Tapscott begins every game with an inspirational quotation. This not-trade likely didn't have to lead Tap to resort to his must win quote, namely the "us must trust us" verse from KRS-One's "Ova Ya Head." Nope, the Wiz responded to their non-makeover by steamrolling their last two opponents, emerging from the basements of the league, and looking as spoiler-riffic as ever. Maybe it was Kane's verse first verse from "Anotha Victory" that emblazoned the whiteboard before their last game and victory ("Come, get some, you little bums"), both their second straight overall win and their second straight at the well-groomed Izod Center (not copyright Berman). Cuz the Wiz made quick work of the Jarvis-less and Vince-Carter-ability-less nature of the Nets. Before that, they were firing up Verizon Center with their dismissing of the worse-off T-Wolves. Want to see development in the youth? Watch the current version of Javaris Crittenden popping eyes everytime he ignights a fast break. Check to see if it's McGhee, Andray Blatche, or career-highing kid Domenic McGuire catching his alley-oop toss. This team's reserves are legit.

And all of this luxury tax rigamorow? Not even an issue once next year kicks off, you know, when Gilbert, Brendan, etc etc become healthy and the Wiz return to excitement? The present, and the future, have become brighter. And you don't have to boycott a sporting league in the process.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Jay Beagle Set To Score First NHL Goal

With the late-breaking news that Alexander Semin will not play tonight vs. the Rangers, the stage is set for another Capitals AHL call-up success story (unlike the Rangers imminent AHL call-up disaster).
As any reader of any regularly posting DC-sports-themed blog could tell you, Beagle is the seventh player to make his NHL debut on the Caps this season.

The successes of Karl Alzner and Simeon Varlamov have garnered plenty of well-deserved attention, though let us also not forget the more subtle triumphs of those Hershey Bears such as Sean Collins (first NHL goal was the morale-killing opening score of a 7-4 rout of the Lightning on January 1), Andrew Gordon (presented himself well in that injury-ridden Caps legendary 5-4 OT win in New York on December 23), or Oskar Osala (scintillating single shot in a 3-1 victory over the conference-leading Bruins on December 10). Also, while he did not make his NHL debut this season, let us never forget Chris Bourque and his first NHL goal in that same game as Collins' goal, which prompted some, um, bold proclamations from your favorite optimistic bloggers.

What similar glorious success awaits Beagle? This blog sees him as yet another valuable contributor from a farm system with seemingly endless quality depth.