- Every once in a while (perhaps too often these days), we are offered a reminder of some core element of humanity that serves as equal parts inspiration and admiration. Of course, I choose the positive side of that humanity coin, and I humbly give you Richard Angell. This Brit found himself squarely in the midst of the tragic London Bridge attacks, at a pub enjoying a meal and a pint. We all know what happened there, and there is no need to retell that in this space. What is worth retelling here is that Richard, like so many other amazing citizens in the great U.K. (shout out to UKRedskin, aka @MarkBullockNFL), refuses to allow cowardly terrorists to dictate the way he chooses to live his life. After watching over a pregnant woman during the attacks, and after being shepherded to safety, Richard vowed to return to the pub to settle his bill with a generous tip, which seems to be exactly what he has done, or what he is doing. It is something I find to be a simultaneously small and large gesture. In addition to speaking to the character of a people that we stand shoulder to shoulder with in this world (hats off to you, Mayor Sadiq Khan, for your calm leadership through this terrible time), it also connects us to that “everyman” character in this story in which we ALL play a part. I have zero doubt that there are countless stories like Richard’s (both home and abroad), and I am deeply affected by them all. Despite the extremely long odds that folks are paying attention to Hogs Haven across the pond, I still think it is important to express solidarity with folks on the front lines of a struggle in which we are all engaged. I tip my hat to you, Richard, and it is my sincere hope that the loudest message that crosses the ocean from the U.S. to the U.K. is the one coming from the people of my country to the people of yours. We truly are in this together.
- I guess I’m just a sucker for any story that combines patriotism, resolute character and a pub...but you all knew this already.
- Let’s transition back into sports talk with some discussion about our Redskins and the continued improvement (outside of any actual game conditions) of our defense. Whether we have forced it to be or not, this has been the dominant conversation around the Redskins water cooler as of late, and it is a welcome departure from incessant Kirk Cousins contract debate. I offer the poll below to get today’s conversation started.
- Like many of you, I have grown up playing the game of Madden. My knowledge of play-calling and scheme recognition at least partly stems from the thousands (millions?) of hours logged over two-plus decades of Madden football. For me, I really began to dig into playbooks in the early 2000’s when you could actually build your own plays as well as borrow formations and plays from then-current offensive coordinators. There isn’t a Madden-player out there worth his salt that failed to find “that play” he/she could rely on in critical moments (or, for the more annoying players, plays they ran 95% of the time). This leads me to my question: What will be the bread-and-butter passing play for the Redskins in 2017? Feel free to be as specific as you want to be, and Madden screenshots are always appreciated! The key is the formation, and then maybe include at least the primary receiver, if not the first two or three targets Kirk will be looking for in crucial situations. (I understand Jordan Reed is the easiest answer here, but defenses know that too, so we might be looking at a play that takes advantage of a defense that is bracketing #86 on these downs.)
- Perhaps the surest sign that it is the first week of June: I am about to talk about kickers. I have held off on too much Dustin Hopkins talk this offseason, but through free agency and the draft, the Redskins are very much reliant on the leg of a guy that struggled in some very key moments last season. On the one hand, his 34 made field goals placed him fourth in the league during the regular season. On the flip side, his 81% accuracy was good for 25th in the league. (If you haven’t yet thrown up today, seeing Kai Forbath in the #1 position there after a 15-for-15 stretch with the Vikings ought to do it.) At 92% accuracy on extra points, he was kind of middle-of-the-road (22nd), which all leads to the question: are we all just kind of thinking he will be better next season? FedEx Field has been a notoriously difficult place to kick—a message delivered regularly by the parade of placekickers that have come through Washington. Dustin’s leg strength makes it worthwhile to continue giving him chances, and I find it very hard to pin losses on a kicker when 22 other players had chances all day to prevent putting the game on the kicker’s leg. As I have said all offseason, there will almost certainly be games (plural) decided on the leg of our kicker, and right now that kicker is Dustin Hopkins. Anyone care to dip a toe into these waters today?
- Instead of trading barbs about who is or isn’t to blame for the Kirk contract not getting done yet, I have a very simple question for you today: Does the way this offseason has gone for the Redskins—and for the league as a whole—make it more or less likely that a deal for Kirk will get done before the July 15 deadline? I have gone back and forth on this, and our discussion on The Audible has stopped short of recognizing some of the trends going on league-wide that could be driving this situation to a positive resolution.
Which Redskins defensive player is not being discussed enough as a major reason our defense will be vastly improved in 2017?
This poll is closed