Wednesday, November 28, 2007

SEAN TAYLOR #21 - 1983 - 2007 R.I.P.

The Washington Redskins suffered their most brutal loss of the season today when free safety Sean Taylor died at a Miami hospital early this morning after being shot in his home. While some in the media, particularly Micheal Wlbon and Leonard Shapiro of the Washington Post, will try to impugn the memory of Sean Taylor by saying that his lifestyle brought on this tragedy, most fans and I will cherish the short time we got to enjoy the enthusiasm and tenacity with which he played the game. Taylor had unbelievale athletic talent and was really beginning to come into his own as an elite player. He was a ferocious tackler that instilled fear in all but the most iron-willed receivers. He was the backbone of the Washington secondary.

There is no denying that Sean had trouble when he came into the league and that most of that trouble was self-inflicted. However, when you listen to his teammates and coaches talk about him now, you are given a picture of a man in the midst of a drastic lifestyle change. He had matured as a player and, according to his friends on and off the field, as a man. Most credit the fact that he had recently become a father as the catalyst for his newfound maturity and sense of responsibility. The man had a great future ahead of him.

Wilbon and Shapiro, with a crass shamelessness that goes beyond understanding, seem to believe the idea of "once a thug, always a thug." Wilbon states in a chat after the news broke about the shooting: "I know how I feel about Taylor, and this latest news isn't surprising in the least, not to me. Whether this incident is or isn't random, Taylor grew up in a violent world, embraced it, claimed it, loved to run in it and refused to divorce himself from it. He ain't the first and won't be the last. We have no idea what happened, or if what we know now will be revised later. It's sad, yes, but hardly surprising." Both of these journalists seem to think the warm fuzzy feelings coming from the team are the Washington Redskins media machine hard at work. That this tragedy was simply a matter of time. That, as Shapiro put it, "the so-called new-Sean" doesn't fit his past image. The kicker is that both of these bastards seem to disbelieve the testimonies of Taylor's personal changes from teammates and coaches because Taylor himself refused to talk to the media and discuss his personal life; didn't explain himself to them, the avatars of moral righteousness. Given the way the media treated him in his first couple of seasons, his reticence is hardly surprising.

The bottom line here is that another young man, full of potential, was the victim of a senseless crime. It's a sad day.

Rest in Peace Sean. You will be sorely missed.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

M/S Explorer

I've been following the story of the ill-fated M/S Explorer since it struck submerged ice in the waters of Antartica. While it's fortunate that no one was injured in this incident, it's still a sad thing. For some reason, I find photos and video footage of sinking ships, especially large ships, to be disturbing at a deep emotional level. There is something forlorn and lonely about a ship in the process of going under. Maybe it's the idea of something once so powerful brought to it's knees that triggers this feeling of isolation. I'm at a loss to explain it.

The odd thing is that I find footage of ships at the bottom of the ocean i.e.: the well known videos of the Titanic and the wreckage of WWII planes and ships in Iron Bottom Sound off Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands, to be both fascinating and peaceful.

Maybe that's it. A ship in the process of sinking is still in the losing struggle between life and death. It has not yet been enveloped by the dark stillness of the ocean bottom.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Ok. This is just too much!

The world is coming to and end. Sesame Street has been given a "May not be suitable for children" warning label.

Apparently, Oscar and Bert are too grumpy, Ernie, while perpetually cheerful, is "a little slow", Gordon is a potential pedofile, Cookie Monster is an addict (I almost died when I heard they made him start eating apples), and Big Bird suffers from delusions because only he can see Snuffleupagus. Oh, and the best part? Sesame Street is a too real, and possibly dangerous place to be. WHAT?!?!?

Now I don't know about you folks, but I grew up on Sesame Street (along with the myriad of other PBS childrens shows such as ZOOM!, The Electric Company, etc.). I was a pretty sickly kid when I was little, and I missed a lot of school through first and second grades. Sesame Street offered me endless amounts of entertainment as well as being a tried and true companion during my stays at home. The show encouraged reading and learning as well as respect and tolerance for ALL people. Sesame Street encouraged kids to go OUTSIDE and play. It's amazing I survived with all these dangerous concepts warping my brain.

The world has gone mad. I can just picture this Christmas as families gather around the tree to open their presents. Mom and Dad happily hand their 6 year old his brand new X-Box and a copy of Grand Theft Auto saying, "Here you go Timmy, you can now pretend to be a pimp, gangster, and murdering car thief, but that horrid Seasame Street is OFF LIMITS!!"

Monday, November 19, 2007

A game of "What ifs?"


What if, on 3rd and ten at the Dallas 20 with about 4:00 to go, Jason Campbell tucks in the ball and runs instead of throwing and ill advised pass to a VERY covered receiver? What if the Redskins defense actually tries to cover Terrell Owens on any of his wide open touchdown catches? What if the Skins had managed to get their running game on track? A change in any of these three things could've led to a much different, and happier, outcome.

The Redskins managed to stay in this game until the bitter end despite some glaring mistakes on defense. Penalties were kept to a minimum, clock management wasn't a factor for a change, and Jason Campbell had the game of his career. The only real mistake Campbell made in the course of a 344 yard, 2 TD game was that final pass. Had he tucked the ball and ran, he would have made the first down at the Cowboys 10 or at the very least got the Skins close enough to get the first on 4th down. The Skins still had all of their timeouts and momentum on their side. Instead he threw and pass into tight coverage that was picked off. If the Redskins had scored at that point, it would've given them the lead with about 2 minutes left. Not necessarily game over, but pretty close.

Now the was astonishing how open they let T.O. get. On two of his TDs there wasn't a Redskin defender within ten yards of him. As much as I hate him, T.O.'s one of the best receivers in the league, if not of all time. You simply can't let him get that open that often. Sean Taylor was sorely missed today. I certainly hope he heals up pretty quick because the Redskins secondary is not very good without him in. I can't totally rag on te defense because they did make a bunch of key stops throughout the game that helped keep the boys in it.

All in all, it was a great game to watch as are most Dallas/Washington games. I think I was most impressed with Jason Campbell. For a guy who's basically a rookie, he showed incredible poise and maturity especially while running the no-huddle offense. I think we'll see great things in the future from him.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory...again.


What in God's name is wrong with the Redskins? Another fairly dominant performance, another lead going into the 4th quarter...another loss. What the Hell? Portis had another great game, Jason Campbell probably had the best game of his career, and the defense, despite being to blame for most of the dumb ass penalties that kept the Iggles in the game, played pretty well. The Skins needed this game and needed it badly, yet they couldn't put it away despite being handed six straight opportunities from inside the Eagles ten yard line to ice the game. Stupid, STUPID penalties, poor execution, bad clock management, a couple of costly turnovers, and a 4th quarter defensive meltdown are what you get instead. ARRRGH!!!!

The Eagles are far from the team that used to dominate the division. They're not even a fraction of that team. The Skins should have taken this one, if not easily, then convincingly (no one who watched the Jets game could say any game involving the Skins would be easy). If we can't beat the battered, limping Eagles at home, what possible chance do we have next week on the road against a Dallas team that's at the top of their game? {insert choice of scathing expletives here}

Joe Gibbs, in his post-game interview, explained that he can't understand why these meltdowns occur. Well let me tell YOU Mr. Gibbs, you better figure it out and fast!!!

{insert 7 dirty words you can't use on television here}

Monday, November 05, 2007

Redskins show some resilience.


After getting completely stomped by the Patriots last week, the Redskins came out and beat (barely) what was supposed to be a bad Jets team in overtime Sunday.

Given the fact that I was going to watch the Pats - Colts game earlier today, I checked out the scores this morning before work and happened upon the Skins game late in the fourth quarter when they up 20-17. I didn't actually watch the last partof the game but follwed the Stat Tracker as the Jets moved down the field and tied it up. I figured at the time, the Skins had blown another lead, and was happy, once I got out of the shower to see they had pulled out the win. What I didn't know, was that the Skins had trailed most of the game.

I just finished watching the whole game - and it was actually an entertaining game - and was surprised by the fact that the Jets led at halftime 17 - 3. I thought the Jets were supposed to suck!!! Anyway, the Skins finally got on the same page and did what they are supposed to do best: run the ball. The second half was good, solid, Redskins smashmouth football. Portis finally had a good game putting up 196 yards rushing, and maybe, just maybe, the battered O-line is starting to gel a bit. The passing game needs work still, and if the the Skins are going to win anymore games, they're going to have to get that part of their game in line. Five field goals ain't gonna cut it against the Eagles and the Cowboys. We need to start putting up serious points.

The Redskins face a brutal schedule in the next few weeks starting with Philly at home, and then Dallas, Tampa Bay, Buffalo, Chicago, and the Giants. Whooo boy! It's gonna be interesting!