Dan Steinberg, of the Washington Post's DC Sports Bog fame has graciously agreed to a short interview with Hogs Haven. If you haven't already, please take the time to visit his Washington Area Sports "Bog".
Hogs Haven: Thanks for taking the time to do this. First and foremost, how and when did you start working for the Post?
Dan Steinberg: I started in September 2001, as a part-time football box score taker and phone answerer in the sports section. I worked with someone at a previous job who went to high school with someone at The Post....you know how that goes. She helped get me in the door, since at the time I was working in the cheese department at Whole Foods. Then one thing led to another.
Hogs Haven: The Post is as progressive as any major media outlet in embracing the growing Blog community. What impact do you think this relationship will have on bloggers? On traditional media outlets such as the Washington Post?
Dan Steinberg: I hope it doesn't have any impact on bloggers, or that it has a positive impact. In journalism, we're taught to see other reporters as the competition, but in blogging I think we're all sort of friends; the rising tide lifts all blogs. I'm not sure what impact it will have on traditional outlets. I think we're still finding out. I'm pretty sure in the next year or two EVERY beat writer in the country will have a blog, if they don't already. I also think beat reporters will be allowed to take many more liberties in terms of expressing their opinions. That's already happening, too.
Hogs Haven: What exactly is a "Bog"?
Dan Steinberg: We needed a name. When I told Ralph Friedgen I was leaving the Maryland beat, he said he didn't even know what a "Bog" was. Combined with the alleged swampiness of D.C., it seemed perfect.
Hogs Haven: Many sports writers have that quintessential moment when they realize that all they want to do for the rest of their lives is write about sports. Are you a sports reporter by circumstance or did you always want to do this? If the latter, did you have one of those moments (perhaps a Redskins Superbowl victory)?
Dan Steinberg: I always dreamed of doing it, and I did a bunch of sports writing for my college paper, but I clearly didn't follow through after college. In 2000 I was watching a baseball game late at night and one team (the Rockies?) ran out of pitchers. Brent Mayne, the backup catcher, came in to throw. Everyone on the field was laughing, hysterically. It made me smile. I thought; this is why I love sports. And I figured I'd try to get back into it. That really happened.
Hogs Haven: DC Sports Bog combines the positives of being affiliated with a major media outlet: access, well earned credibility, an embedded readership, etc. with the positives of a blog community: reader input, lack of strict editorial control and/or deadlines. My question is, will you use your powers for good, or for evil?
Dan Steinberg: I'm good. Jason LaCanfora, our skins beat writer-slash-blogger, is evil.
Hogs Haven: The Redskins have been utterly inconsistent throughout this year, scorching the Texans and the Jags for nearly 500 yards a piece before flailing helplessly against the Giants. What do you think has driven the level of inconsistency thus far?
Dan Steinberg: I'm in the unique position of not really caring whether the team wins or loses. I was raised in Western New York as a Bills fan, and I've gradually lost any allegiance to any team. That's part of the sports writing life, although it works against me as a blogger. Anyhow, as a purely outside observer, I'd say the Skins struggled in the first two games because their best player (Portis) was hurt, did moderately well in their next two (against a weak opponent and in a home game), and then struggled in an NFC East road game, which isn't that remarkable, none of it. To me, what's more interesting is how much people around here freak out from one week to the next. I don't remember as many mood swings in Buffalo, but maybe I'm wrong.
Hogs Haven: The Redskins have been consistent on the defensive side of the ball... consistently mediocre. Besides the obvious disadvantage Shawn Springs' injury has had on the secondary, what do you think has driven the uncharacteristic poor play of Gregg Williams usually stout defense?
Dan Steinberg: This is more interesting to me than the offensive stuff, and golly, I don't know the answer. It would seem that some of the newcomers just haven't fit in yet, and some (Archuleta) have looked downright stinky at times, but as a whole, the defense really hasn't been terrible. More like mediocre, like you say. I'm so sick of reading about big plays, but it's true that so many of the points and yards have come on big plays, which is the sort of thing that could get worked out over time. I've seen too many mid season turnarounds (like last year) to make any grandiose statements in mid-October.
Hogs Haven: Brunell or Campbell? If Brunell, at what point in the season do you call for Campbell and why?
Dan Steinberg: I haven't been to Redskins Park, aka LaCanfora Land, so I'm basing this on the same things that you are, but I'd say Brunell for this reason: he's looked pretty average, and if the coaching staff really doesn't think Campbell could be better than average, why risk what should be a playoff year? If it becomes clear that the playoff plans are falling through, then I don't see how you wouldn't give Campbell a shot, but in the games Brunell has had his best running back he's 2-1.
Hogs Haven: If you could be either of these superheroes, which would it be: Batman or Santana Moss?
Dan Steinberg: Agent Zero.
Hogs Haven: Of the big off season acquisitions on both sides of the ball, who -if anyone--do you think has lived up to the hype? Who has so far been the biggest bust?
Dan Steinberg: Everyone says Randle El is a bust, but again, I'm not ready to say that. They're paying him tons of money, but they pay everyone tons of money, so let's not judge him on his salary. A guy like that earns his keep with a few big returns and a few gamebreaking offensive plays, and he'll do that at some point. But no one around here can ever live up to the hype, because there's so much hype.
Hogs Haven: The Redskins currently have a loooong ways to go towards putting themselves in playoff contention. They are dead last in the division with Philly clearly on top. Both the remaining teams, Dallas and New York, have already recorded convincing wins against the Redskins. Do you think this team has a legitimate shot at winning the division?
Dan Steinberg: Yes. They lost to Dallas and Philly on the road. They're in "dead last," but could be in sole possession of second a week from now. It's just too early.
Hogs Haven: This weekend we face a weak defensive team in Tennessee but also one that very nearly upset Indianapolis last week. Do you consider this game a lock and, if so, care to make a prediction?
Dan Steinberg: It makes for horrible copy, but I don't consider any game a lock. My buddy Adam Kilgore went on his college football chat last week and said Auburn over Arkansas was a lock. It should have been, but it wasn't. I say the Skins win 30-13 this week.
Hogs Haven: Finally, who do you consider to be the greatest Washington Redskin of all time? Hint: Sammy Baugh.
Dan Steinberg: Chip Lohmiller. And Sammy Baugh.
Good man. Dan, thanks so much stopping by; we'd love to have you again. Readers, please bookmark Dan's DC Sports Bog immediately as it is an invaluable resource for DC sports happenings.