1) I ran into a husband and wife rocking Redskins gear on the flight home from Vermont. I asked them their impression of the game on Friday night and all they could talk about was how Donovan McNabb BETTER be ready to go in Week 1. The husband said, "He's still an Eagle to me. Until he suits up in the regular season, and particularly against Dallas, it won't be real for me." Is that how most of you feel? I have kind of warmed up to Don Burgundy over the last couple months, but something inside me feels this way too.
2) I had a long conversation with a Redskins fan at a bar up in Vermont about Danny Smith, our special teams coach. I was asked how he has kept his job over the years. Smith has been on the scene since 2004. My first thought was to say, "I defy you to find a football person (anyone who has worked either in the sport or who has covered the game) who has an unkind word for Coach Smith." The dude is honestly revered. He has escaped the blame for just about every debacle that has gone down over the last handful of seasons. But we have had some ridiculous special teams debacles, right? Kevin and I have seen him in action at practice and we have seen him out at events. I can speak for both of us when I say he is equally impressive in both situations. Yet, the guy had a point when he wondered aloud how a coach under Dan Snyder has been able to keep his job despite such glaring deficiencies. I will suggest that I am very much okay with Smith being retained (I have to believe Shanahan could have brought in someone else if he wanted to). What are your Danny Smith thoughts?
3) Is it just me or are the normally negative friends in each of our circles getting a little jazzed about this team? Further, what constitues getting "jazzed"? Is an 8-8 prediction from a cynic being optimistic?
4) I read somewhere this weekend that every year since 2003, a worst-place team has come back the following year to win their division. I always get excited by these kinds of stats. Are we that team this year? But our problem is that we aren't trying to leapfrog Seattle, St. Louis, Arizona, and/or San Francisco. We have to jump over the entire NFC East. Handicap our chances to do this in the comments section.
5) Surveying the landscape in the NFC East, I ask the following question: Can Clinton Portis be the best running back in our division this year? On the face of it, he probably should not have a chance...BUT I'll argue yes because:
- In New York, Brandon Jacobs will steal stats from Ahmad Bradshaw in the first half of the season before breaking down.
- In Dallas, Felix Jones probably could be the best in the division, but Marion Barber and Tashard Choice will (deservedly) get plenty of touches.
- In Philly, LeSean McCoy will get held back by Andy Reid. I am pretty sure McCoy could lead the league in rushing if they turned him loose, but since when has Andy Reid committed to a running back like that?
That leaves Clinton Portis with a chance, right? Larry Johnson will get plenty of time to be sure, but if CP can stay healthy early, I believe Shanahan will let him go. If he can find those seams in the zone-blocking scheme that he once could, we could be in for a real treat. Or maybe I am just trying to talk myself into drafting Portis too high in my upcoming fantasy draft.
6) We will spend more valuable front page space on this all week, but mark your calendars:
When: Thursday, September 9th
Where: Hard Times Cafe in Bethesda, MD starting at 6 PM
Budweiser is throwing a Hogs Haven party for the NFL kickoff and our good friends at Hard Times Cafe are hosting us all. That means FREE BEER, giveaways, Beirut, special guests, food specials and FREE BEER.
Come one, come all. We will start a sign-up list ASAP. If you are coming, put yourself on the list. That is all it takes to get on the invite list for a Hogs Haven event!
See you there.