John Riggins Has Not Written a Book

September 28, 2010

No truth to the rumor that “Operation Dark Heart” is actually a John Riggins tell-all. 

13 months ago, however, the Hall of Fame Redskins running back and WB teen soap opera guest star called Washington owner Daniel Snyder “a bad guy” and “someone with the mindset of a child.”  He also had this to say to Inside the NFL’s Cris Collinsworth:

“Let me put it to you this way, Cris, this person’s heart is dark.”

Running Back Graveyard

September 22, 2010
Redskins RB Before Yards After
Shaun Alexander (2008)            9,429                  24  0 
Ladell Betts (2009)            2,966                210  0 
Larry Johnson (2010)            6,219                     2

CP Being CP (Again)

September 14, 2010

While many Redskins fans were still digesting Tracee Hamilton’s Tuesday column declaring RB Clinton Portis the anti-Haynesworth, CP once again hard a unique take on a national NFL scandal.

The day began with Hamilton’s piece lauding Portis’ pass-blocking, gushing over his offseason work ethic & demeanor, and even championing him for potential offensive captain in Tuesday’s Washington Post.  By mid-morning, the tailback made his inaugural weekly radio appearance on DC’s 106.7 The Fan.  Filling in for regular host Mike “Careless, Dumb Behavior” Wise was former RB/KR Brian Mitchell, who once told Portis over the radio waves that “The next time I see you, I’ll step to you.”

When asked about the Ines Sainz – NY Jets scandal, CP offered his thoughts (per DC Sports Bog): 

“You know man, I think you put women reporters in the locker room in positions to see guys walking around naked, and you sit in the locker room with 53 guys, and all of the sudden you see a nice woman in the locker room, I think men are gonna tend to turn and look and want to say something to that woman. For the woman, I think they make it so much that you can’t interact and you can’t be involved with athletes, you can’t talk to these guys, you can’t interact with these guys.

“And I mean, you put a woman and you give her a choice of 53 athletes, somebody got to be appealing to her. You know, somebody got to spark her interest, or she’s gonna want somebody. I don’t know what kind of woman won’t, if you get to go and look at 53 men’s packages. And you’re just sitting here, saying ‘Oh, none of this is attractive to me.’ I know you’re doing a job, but at the same time, the same way I’m gonna cut my eye if I see somebody worth talking to, I’m sure they do the same thing.”

Portis, who has exactly one 100+ rushing yard game in the last 22 months (109 vs. KC in Week 6 last year, 79 on a single carry), has been here before.  Back in May 2007 when Eagles QB Michael Vick’s name was first brought up in connection with dog-fighting charges, CP gave his opinion:

I don’t know if he was fighting dogs or not, but it’s his property, it’s his dog,” Washington Redskins running back Clinton Portis told WAVY-TV in Virginia. “If that’s what he wants to do, do it. I think people should mind their business.”

When told that dog fighting is a felony, Portis replied, “It can’t be too bad of a crime.”

“You want to hunt down Mike Vick over fighting some dogs?,” Portis told the television station. “I think people should mind their own business.”

Portis said that dog fighting is more common than people think.

I know a lot of back roads that have the dog fighting if you want to go see it,” he said.

He later added: “I think there’s bigger issues in the world and in life than what Michael Vick’s doing on his own property. Hunting is legal.”

Marc Verica is Not Unlike Matt Leinart

August 31, 2010

Virginia fifth-year starting QB Marc Verica’s musical talents are well-known, but the team captain who is competing as a graduate student this fall continued his higher learning earlier this summer via a dance class.  Said Verica at the time:

It’s called ‘The Social Change of Dance,’ but it’s not just two hours, non stop, of us cutting it loose. It’s a lot of learning the history of dance. We learn about dance as a propaganda tool [in terms of] specific [cultural] movements, whether it’s civil rights or maybe feminism. Adrien Harraway, my academic advisor, told me, ‘You’re approved to take a summer class, third session if you want to. I said, ‘Fine, let’s do it. I’m not doing anything anyway.’ … Guys know on the team that I’m a good dancer. I dance all the time in the locker room.”

Verica may be patterning his final season of eligibility after that of Heisman Trophy winner, two-time All-American, and slightly better-looking Matt Leinart.  In 2005, the USC QB took a ballroom dancing class as the final elective en route to a sociology degree from Southern Cal.  The latter, who threw for more TDs in two starts against Notre Dame (9) than Verica has in 17 career games (8), led the Trojans to an undefeated regular season and was selected 10th overall by the Arizona Cardinals in the 2006 NFL Draft.

Leinart, who took the course with then-girlfriend and subsequent/current baby-mother Brynn Cameron, stated at the time: “I put in my work to get my degree. I came back for my fifth year, and I’m taking what’s necessary for me to graduate. And that’s two units.”  But things haven’t gone so dancingly for Leinart since then.  Cameron, then a USC basketball player, claimed two years ago that Matt L. wasn’t exactly the world’s best Dad.  And at present, Leinart remains a backup in Arizona and thinks his HC Ken Winsehunt may have issues with him.

As for Verica, he’s just looking for some wins.  His last two high school teams won a combined 6 games, and in order to better than in his last two college seasons Virginia will need to win at least four games this year.

Mike Pettine Front & Center on HBO

August 26, 2010

Former Virginia defensive back Mike Pettine is front & center this season’s “Hard Knocks” on HBO as the Jets’ DC.

Pettine, who shares the Cavaliers’ single-game INT record with 3, once said his defense was neither a 3-4 or 4-3, but rather “more of a 3½ – 3½.”  As a part of some of HC George Welsh’s initial teams at Virgnia, Pettine recalled that  “even at ’84, he was still slipping up, he’d call it the ‘mess hall’” as a result of his time in Annapolis.

Today, Pettine is buddies with “Gary Dell’Abate, also known as ‘Baba Booey’ on The Howard Stern Show” and has to answer questions about holdout CB Darrelle Revis from his family, or at least from family members who did not suffer turf toe injuries during an early August scrimmage.  And on top of that, at least one blogger is afraid of him:

“Scary dude. Honestly, he looks like he just got out of San Quentin two days before the start of training camp—all he’s missing is a neck tattoo. If Bart Scott is taking Ryan in a dark alley with him, I’m taking Pettine.”

Well-Rested

August 26, 2010

NFL regular-season games played in 2009 for members of the current Redskins’ two-deep:

  • DL Adam Carriker*………….0
  • DL Ma’ake Kemoeatu*………0
  • OL Jammal Brown*………….0
  • WR Anthony Armstrong…..0
  • OL Kory Lichtensteiger……0
  • FB Darrel Young……………..0
  • P Josh Bidwell*……………….0
  • QB Rex Grossman……………1
  • WR Joey Galloway*………….3
  • OG Edwin Williams………….3
  • CB Kevin Barnes……………..4
  • K Graham Gano*……………..4
  • OL Chad Rinehart……………4

* currently listed as a starter

A Text to the Bullpen

June 9, 2010

A developing trend in pitching rotation management?

CAA Tournament

VCU’s ace, sophomore right-hander Seth Cutler-Voltz from Henrico High, was persistent about wanting to pitch in the Colonial Athletic Association tournament final despite one day of rest.

Cutler-Voltz threw 108 pitches in a complete game in the Rams’ opening win Thursday. After the Rams won again Friday, Keyes said Cutler-Voltz texted him Friday night, asking when he was going to pitch in the championship round Saturday.

UNC Wilmington had to beat VCU twice, and Keyes had determined he would use Cutler-Voltz only if a second game became necessary.

With the Seahawks up 5-0 in the middle of the first game, Cutler-Voltz approached Keyes again. Near the end of a 10-0 loss, Keyes decided Cutler-Voltz would start.

Cutler-Voltz (8-3, 3.20 ERA) gave up five runs – one earned – in four innings. He left trailing 5-1, but VCU rallied for a 7-5 victory in 12 innings.

“I felt like they had so much momentum, we had to throw our best guy out there,” Keyes said. “He said, ‘Coach, I don’t want to know about pitch count. When you don’t think I can get’em out anymore, just let me know and take me out.'”

SEC Tournament

[LSU pitcher Anthony] Ranaudo, who pitched 7 2/3 innings in winning the opener against Florida, texted Mainieri the night before to say he could pitch in relief if needed. Mainieri was preparing Matty Ott to pitch the ninth after Alabama tied the game at 3 in the eighth. But the second rain delay hit and Mainieri decided to go with his ace, who used the additional time to get ready.

“I’m a competitor; I want the ball,” Ranaudo said. “I told Coach if anything weird happened I’d be available. I’d been preparing the last three days in case something happened.”

Ranaudo didn’t allow a hit but walked two batters in the 10th, one of them reaching third base as the winning run with two outs. But Ranaudo retired Jake Smith on a fly ball to deep right field.

With one out in the 11th, LSU’s Matt Gaudet singled and went to second when Mikie Mahtook was safe on an error with two out. Fury, whom the players call ‘Rudy’, ran for Gaudet before Hanover ripped his third hit past shortstop Josh Rutledge. The former Rummel Raider steamed home and slid in headfirst, well ahead of the throw.

Charlottesville Regional

Sunday night, long after Davenport Field had cleared and the reality set in for Virginia that it would need to win an elimination game the next day to keep its season alive, Cavaliers coach Brian O’Connor sent a text message to Kevin Arico, his junior closer.

“I just told him, ‘hey, you’re our guy, and you need to be ready at any point for an extended outing,’” O’Connor said. “The plan was that if we got into a difficult situation where the game could potentially be on the line anywhere after the fifth inning, that we were going to come to him.”How’s this for difficult? Virginia was clinging to a three-run lead in the sixth against a St. John’s team that was peskier than anyone anticipated, and Jeremy Baltz was at the plate, the same freshman who hit two home runs on Sunday, including the two-run shot that beat the Cavs in the eighth inning. The bases were loaded. The crowd of 4,801 on hand, though supportive, was nervous.

Arico hadn’t pitched in nine days, meaning he was the freshest arm UVa had available. The situation, understandably, was tense.

“It’s easier to get a little more amped up in that situation,” Arico said.

Two of those runners scored, but Arico avoided disaster. He left the inning with the lead and finished the game, going 3 2/3 innings, the longest outing of his career. The Cavaliers held off the Red Storm, winning 5-3 Monday to advance to the super regionals for the second straight year.

 

Worth of Haynesworth

May 18, 2010

According to nfl.com, the Redskins had 40 sacks in 2009, for an average of 2.5 per game.  The total was well above 2008 production, and much of the credit was and has been given to free agent signee DT Albert Haynesworth. 

Haynesworth himself had just four sacks – his lowest total since 2006 – but ends Andre Carter & Brian Orakpo each had 11 sacks.  That marked the first time since 2000 (Bruce Smith-10, Marco Coleman-12) that Washington boasted two double-digit sack men, but still a far cry from the 28+ put up by Charles Mann & Dexter Manley in both 1984 and 1985.

Through week 6, the team had 15 sacks and everyone was gushing:

  • DE Phillip Daniels: “Albert’s the key, the way he penetrates.  Teams try to slide protection his way or double him so everybody else is one-on-one.”
  • D-line coach John Palermo: “Albert only has [two] sacks, but he’s probably created another four or five because he has made the quarterback alter his looks.”
  • HC Jim Zorn: “The one guy who has really benefited [from Haynesworth’s presence] is Andre. He’s coming screaming around the end.”

By November, Carter was saying that his sack total was “definitely a tribute to [Albert] Haynesworth… one thing about him, when you watch the film and analyze it, is he sacrifices his body. I mean, he’s a big man, so when you see him dive for a tackle, that’s 300-plus pounds of man there, so sometimes you get banged up. But one thing about him: he’ll tape it up and come back.”  Really?

In the same month, Rick Maese of the Washington Post wrote that the Redskins’ increased sack total was “thanks largely to the addition of Albert Haynesworth at defensive tackle.”

Colleague Jason Reid wrote in March of this year that “despite all the criticism of Haynesworth last season, there is no denying the impact he had on the defense. His presence in the middle of the line helped to elevate the level of play of the entire defense.”

Just last month, ESPN’s John “baby” Clayton penned: “Even though injuries limited Haynesworth to 12 games in 2009, his presence was felt. Andre Carter and Brian Orakpo each had 11-sack seasons, taking advantage of the blocking attention given to Haynesworth.”

In looking at the numbers, the sack totals were actually higher without Big Al than with.  The biggest day of the year came at Oakland, when Orakpo & Carter totaled 4 & 2, respectively, and the team posted 8.  Haynesworth?  He never saw the field that Sunday.

(click to enlarge)

Cavaliers in the Pros

April 29, 2010
  •  Javier Lopez (1998 4th round, Diamondbacks) – former college starter pitched in just 11 2/3 big-league innings for Boston last year after signing a 1-year, $1.35 million contract last January.  Has appeared in 10 games this season for Pittsburgh, posting a 3.38 ERA.
  • Andrew Dobies (2004 3rd round, Red Sox) – southpaw went 2-3 last year in 30 relief appearances for Salem (high A) and Portland (AA), striking out 42 in 44 1/3 innings with a 3.86 ERA.  Recently called up to Charlotte (AAA) after being traded to the White Sox.
  • Joe Koshansky (2004 6th round, Rockies) – first baseman spent all of last year in Nashville (AAA, Milwaukee), batting just .218 but totaling 24 HR and 80 RBI.  Marked his third straight season with 20+ HR at the AAA level Played in 35 games for the Rockies in 2007-08, hitting .180 with 3 HR and 10 RBI.  Hitting .200 with 4 HR in the 20 games this year for the Sounds.
  • Mark Reynolds (2004 16th round, Arizona) – 2009 All-Star Fan Vote finalist hit .260 with 44 HR, 102 RBI, and a MLB single-season record 223 K (breaking his own record).  7 HR, 20 RBI and 24 K in 20 games thus far in 2010.  Singed a 3-year, $14.5million contract last month.
  • Ryan Zimmerman (2005 1st round, Washington) – “face of the franchise” won the NL Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards last season at the hot corner, hitting .292 with 33 HR and 106 RBI.  Currently day-to-day (hamstring) but hitting .326 with 2 HR and 10 RBI in 14 games played.  Signed a 5-year, $45million contract last April.
  • Matt Avery (2005 9th round, Cubs) – former started appeared in 28 games for Harrisburg (AA) last year in the Nationals organization after playing 3+ seasons in the Cubs organization.
  • Jeff Kamrath (2005 11th round, Devil Rays) – righty last pitched in 2008 for Montgomery (AA), finishing his minor league career with a 7-26 record and 5.45 ERA.  Now offering pitching clinics at Total Performance in Charlottesville.
  • Tom Hagan (2006 39th round, Pirates) – former punter last played for the Hickory Crawdads (A) in 2008.  Hit .269 with 7 homers and 45 RBI in 87 games, his only season in single-A.
  • Mike Ballard (2006 14th round, Rangers) – lefty made 22 starts last year between Frisco (AA) and Oklahoma City (AAA), going 8-8 with a  3.98 ERA.  Is 2-0 in four starts this year for the RedHawks.
  • Sean Doolittle (2007 1st round, Athletics) – former college pitcher was injured most of last year (knee), but did total 14 RBI in 28 games for Sacramento (AAA) and find time to blog on mlblogs.com.  Had a breakout 2008 with 22 HR in 91 RBI for Stockton (high A) and Midland (AA) combined.  No timetable for his return, according to Baseball America.
  • Brandon Guyer (2007 5th round, Cubs) – outfielder was promoted to Tennessee (AA) mid-season last year after batting .347 in 73 games for Daytona (high A).   Hitting .283 with 8 SB in 19 games this year for the Smokies.
  • Casey Lambert (2007 6th round, Cubs) – former closer was moved to the starting rotation last year, starting one game at Iowa (AAA) after going 6-5 with a 3.95 ERA in 13 starts for Tennessee (AA).  Began this season for the Smokies on the disabled list after Tommy John surgery.
  • Beau Seabury (2007 13th round, Rockies) – catcher posted average below .240 in both 2007 and 2008 at Asheville (A), but was promoted to Modesto (high A) for the start of the 2010 season.  Hitting .160 in 9 games this year for the Nuts
  • Mike Mitchell (2007 25th round, Rockies) – outfielder hit .226 in 118 games for Modesto (high A) last season, stealing 34 bases one year after swiping 45 for Asheville (A).  Has only played in one game this year for the Nuts, going 2 for 3 with two singles and a SB.
  • Greg Mclat (2008 5th round, Orioles) – shortstop played 111 games at Delmarva (A) last year, hitting just .228 with 22 RBI and 25 steals.  Currently on the disabled list for Frederick (high A).
  • David Adams (2008 3rd round, Yankees) – second baseman split 2009 between Charleston (A) and Tampa (high A), batting above .280 at both stops and totaling 75 RBI.  Hitting .314 with 11 RBI in 18 games for Trenton (AA) this year.
  • Jacob Thompson (2008 5th round, Braves) – ‘07 All-American went 7-9 last year for Rome (A) and Myrtle Beach (high A), striking out 119 but posting a 4.25 ERA.  Mississippi (AA).  1-2 this year at Mississippi (AA).
  • Jeremy Farrell (2008 8th round, Pirates) – infielder hit .248 in 73 games for West Virginia (A).  Batting .323 with 16 RBI in 18 games this year for the Bradenton Marauders (high A).
  • Pat McAnaney (2008 8th round, Diamondbacks) – lefthander started 28 games for the Visalia Rawhide (high A) last year, going 10-8 with a 4.41 ERA and 146K in 147 innings.  Won his first start for Visalia this year and was called up to Mobile (AA).  Has gone 0-2 in two three starts with a 6.43 ERA for the BayBears.
  • Michael Schwimer (2008 14th round, Phillies) – closer went 4-2 with 20 saves out of the pen last year for Reading (AA) and Clearwater (high A) with a 7.20 ERA in 53 appearances.  0-0 with 2 saves and a 0.93 ERA in 8 appearances this year for Reading, striking out 13 in just 9 2/3 innings.
  • Andrew Carraway (2009 12th round, Mariners) – last year’s Saturday starter went 8-0 with a 2.10 ERA and 70 K’s in 64 2/3 innings in single A last summer for Everett & Clinton.  1-1 in three starts this year with 12 K in 14 innings for High Desert (high A).
  • Robert Poutier (2009 29th round, Padres) – pitched in 5 games out of the pen at Rookie level last year.
  • Jeff Lorick (2009 20th round, Braves) – has pitched in one game this season for Rome (A), after starting the season in Danville (Rookie).

Combine All-Stars

April 21, 2010

With this week’s trade for former Rams DL Adam Carriker, the Shan-Allen-han brain trust has increased the number for former first-round draft picks on the Washington Redskins’ roster to an even more astonishing number.  Not satisfied with a roster already full of mercenaries whose career highlights came in the jerseys of their former team, the new regime also seems interested in stockpiling talent which the pride of Jarrettsville once drooled over.  Carriker is the fifth former round-1 selection acquired in this offseason alone (bolded among the list of 14 on the roster below):

  1. Donovan McNabb (1999, #2)
  2. Mike Williams (2002, #4)
  3. LaRon Landry (2007, #6)
  4. Andre Carter (2001, #7)
  5. DeAngelo Hall (2004, #8)
  6. Carlos Rogers (2005, #9)
  7. Carriker (2007, #13)
  8. Brian Orakpo (2009, #13)
  9. Albert Haynesworth (2002, #15)
  10. Santana Moss (2001, #16)
  11. Phillip Buchanon (2002, #17)
  12. Rex Grossman (2003, #22)
  13. Jason Campbell (2005, #25)
  14. Larry Johnson (2003, #27)

If there’s no last-minute Thursday night trade, the #4 pick this year will be the 15th player on the roster that was once thought of as a top-30 prospect in his class.  Also in the mix is free agent Levi Jones (2002, #10), still listed as a Redskin on nfl.com.

Perhaps more disturbing, many of this offseason’s acquisitions did nothing (absolutely or virtually) last season:

  • Carriker, Maake Kemoeatu, Josh Bidwell, Anthony Bryant, Kory Lichtensteiger, Justin Medlock, Clint Oldenburg, Ryan Torain, Lee Vickers, and Roydell Williams
  • QB Grossman had just nine pass attempts
  • RB Willie Parker rushed for just 389 yards
  • OL Artis Hicks started just three games, the lowest total since his rookie year
  • CB Phillip Buchanon had no interceptions, after totaling 7 over the prior three seasons
  • DT Howard Green had no starts playing for his fifth NFL team
  • DE Greg Peterson played in just two games
  • TE Sean Ryan played in 10 games, but caught just 14 passes
  • RB Johnson had just 581 yards, after averaging more than 1,200 over the prior four seasons