With the NFL draft now having taken place almost two weeks ago, we are really into the doldrums of the offseason and looking forward to minicamps and rookie signing news. No worries, though, as we had some juicy items to cover over from the last seven days. In this week's Hullabaloo, we will follow up on last week's kerfuffle about our take on new Redskins draft choice Ryan Grant (aka "Meh"-gate). We will also look at how Grant and the others performed at the past weekend's minicamp, discuss the Madden curse and put a bow on the Washington Wizards exciting season. But first, our player spotlight:
Redskins Player Spotlight: Perry Riley has quite the daunting task in front of him. All the fifth year veteran has to do is replace a legend who never missed a game and was the unquestioned quarterback for the defense for many years in London Fletcher. If anyone that is currently on the roster is up to the challenge, it is Riley. He spent the last several seasons shadowing the now retired Fletcher, watching film with him and learning the defense. With Riley now being the unquestioned leader of at the least the ILB's, he will be counted on heavily to mature as a player. Last season he finished with 115 tackles, three sacks, and eight passes defended. He will need to improve at consistently putting himself in a good position to make plays on the ball. We believe that he has the skill and ability to fit the bill and would like to see him team with a healthy Keenan Robinson to anchor the inside.
Redskins Hullabaloo of the Week:
- Ryan Grant follow up - To recap, last week we handed out our reactions and grades on the Redskins class of 2014. We were a little surprised by the biting reaction we got to our opinion of the Ryan Grant selection. We stated: "Meh. Grant did not excite us too much. He is slow and not particularly tall. However, he practiced well at the Senior Bowl and apparently will catch anything thrown within five yards of him. Still, meh. Grade: D". Well, that did not go over well and some readers got upset. And not just a little upset, but more in line with how upset someone might get if I were to walk into their house uninvited and kick their dog for no reason. So, as promised, I went back and looked at more film. I'm almost afraid to say it now, but I was still not overly impressed with what I saw. Just for fun, I also went back and looked at his Hogs Haven poll when he was selected, and found that the majority of readers agreed with me at the time. After reading my review, some readers made a point to tell me that the only traits really necessary for a receiver to be successful are good hands and great route running. The name Anquan Boldin was thrown out quite a bit to prove their point. I will state again that I hope Grant comes in and lights up the stat sheet for ten years and wins five Super Bowls with the Redskins. My concerns are his height (6'0"), speed (4.62 40-yard dash) and reputation for struggling to separate from his defender, which was clear on the film. We realize that some receivers in the past have been able to have very solid careers in the league without being tall or without being fast, but it is definitely rare for someone to be successful in the league with both of those attributes working against them. This league is filled with the biggest and fastest men on the planet, so it is a struggle for a player who is neither of those things. Having said all of that, Grant got high praise from Jay Gruden after the rookie minicamp when Gruden said, "He plays like a ten year veteran already. He's very smooth. He understands route concepts." He followed up by saying, "We're very, very excited to have Ryan." So that was kind of the opposite of "Meh". I guess we'll see how it plays out, but make no mistake: just because we would have rather have seen wide receiver Jared Abbrederis or guard David Yankey go in that spot, it doesn't mean we aren't welcoming in Ryant Grant into our Redskins family now that he is here.
- Alfred Morris loses to Andrew Luck - Our buddy and favorite running back was competing against Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck and lost in a tournament based on fan voting, which was set up to determine which player will grace the cover of the next installment of the Madden franchise. We here at the Hump Day offices own a Play Station 3 (only the best for our staff!) and our only gaming purchase each year is Madden football. While part of me was hoping Morris would beat Luck, another part of me was glad when he lost so he would not get closer to being tied in to what has been deemed "The Madden Curse". It is now a moot point, and I am not superstitious, but as you go back in the history of this game since they started putting players on the cover, its better just to leave that alone. Here is an interesting article on how the curse has become a little scary.
- On Friday, the Redskins announced they had signed six of their eight draft picks to contracts, leaving only Trent Murphy and Morgan Moses unsigned as they headed into the weekend's minicamp. During camp, most of the draft picks received positive reviews in one sense or another, and no injuries of note occurred.
- Some feelings were hurt, however, as immediately following the tryouts, defensive tackle Chris Davenport, tight end Kevin Perry, quarterback Tommy Rees and safety Jose Gumbs (who was on the active roster last year) were cut. Added to the roster was free safety Ross Madison, defensive tackle Frank Kearse, and cornerbacks Blake Sailors and Courtney Bridget. Incidentally, the team led the league in signings of players with fake-sounding names that day.
- On Monday, Robert Griffin III released a love letter video of sorts to the fans in a seemingly unprompted and genuine gesture. Here is the post on the video by our own HogHunter.
- Finally, on Tuesday the Redskins announced that they will hold joint training camp practices with the New England Patriots for three days in Richmond before the preseason opener at Fed-Ex Field on August 7. In reaction to the news, I sent our interns out to Richmond today to ensure a good parking spot and guarantee prime locations for our beach chairs atop the practice field hill. They complained outwardly, but I think inside they knew these were the days they'll look back on fondly.
Team Having the Best Week: The Cleveland Browns - On a slow week, I am giving this title to the team that stole away a bright young mind with upper management written all over him in Morocco Brown. Brown had been the Director of Pro Personnel for the Redskins since 2008 and is well respected around the league as someone who could be a quality general manager someday. His title in Cleveland is expected to be Vice President of Player Personnel. Our advice for his first move: suggest the team changes their stadium name to Johnny Manziel Stadium.
Team Having the Worst Week: The Washington Redskins - What did the Redskins lose when Brown packed his bags and left on a jet plane? Only a man who (according to the Redskins website) coordinated the advanced scouting of Redskins opponents, participated in all draft meetings, and evaluated all potential free agents and trade prospects. At this point, I would like to inject my name as a possible replacement. My qualifications for this job are many. They include, but are not limited to, building three straight championship Redskins teams in the Madden 2013 season simulator, as well as managing to obtain a total season record of 114-135-8 against the spread while doing advanced scouting for the entire league last season in the Hump Day Pick'em.
Huge Redskins Fan Dale Jr. Report (Aka Why Junior is Awesome):
Junior finished fourth in the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race and had another solid performance. Later in the week at a charity event, he ran into the formerly mentioned London Fletcher and got a pic with him.
Got to meet retired linebacker @LFletcher59 at Mr. H's charity event. Certainly made my day. #HTTR pic.twitter.com/Qa8ng6KwDD— Dale Earnhardt Jr. (@DaleJr) May 19, 2014
This Sunday, he and the crew will stay in Charlotte and try to continue their fine season at the Coca-Cola 600. He remains in fourth place in total points for the season.
Random UnRedskins Item: Outside of a few exceptions, we have used this section to track the Cinderella season that was unfolding for our Washington Wizards. As of last week's post, they had won Game 5 against the Pacers to stay alive at 3-2 and would have to win the last two in a row to continue on to the Eastern Conference Finals. Alas, their season came crashing to an end on Friday night in a Game 6 loss at home. This season will be remembered as the year that young guards John Wall and Bradley Beal thrust themselves into the national spotlight while performing well at the All-Star Weekend and then playing great playoff basketball. We at the Hump Day offices would like to say thanks to the whole team for an enjoyable season, and we hope that they can build on this year's success to achieve big things in the near future. Here is a pic of RG3 cheering on the team, which was a cool sight to see as we love when players from other local teams show their support.
From one franchise player to another... Let's go DC! #dcRising with @RGIII and @John_Wall pic.twitter.com/rH3WPyTRa1— Hoop District (@HoopDistrictDC) May 16, 2014
On an unrelated note, we have a short video today of a kid who went to a baseball game and managed to show more game and charisma with the ladies at his age then I ever have or ever will. It was very impressive, and if you haven't seen it already, I will just let you watch what he does to impress an older girl behind him while still keeping the ball that was thrown to him from the playing field. Kudos kid. Major kudos.
Next on the Redskins' schedule: Mini-camp May 27-29
That is this week's Hullabaloo! Thanks for reading and not being afraid to give really super honest non-sugarcoated feedback. Positive feedback is always welcome as well!
Until next time....