Ask Boswell: Redskins, Nationals and Washington sports

Nov 26, 2013

Washington Post Sports Columnist Tom Boswell answered your questions about the Redskins, the Capitals, the Nationals, the rest of D.C. sports and more.

Past Ask Boswell chats

Perhaps I'm old and naive, but where is George Allen screaming "Fifty men, together, can't lose!" motivating the Redskins to run through a locker room door to win a key game? What astounds me about this current group of players is that they seem to play with zero -ZERO - emotion. Then, after each awful loss we hear the "totally unacceptable, blah, blah..." And they go out and do it again, with no passion, the following Sunday.

Every team gets excited and emotional when it's winning and the Skins were that way late last year. But how are you when you are losing? They are not a "lose hard locker room" like many I have seen in many sports. The idea that they have high football character probably isn't right. They aren't low either. Just a normal bunch. But Shanahan said he was looking for tough-minded players. We'll see how many they have the last five games. They are STILL a healthy team by the standards of Week 12 in the NFL. Jordan Reed should be back at TE next week.

Has this version of the Piston really been "figured out" or are the Niners just especially well suited to stop it because they use read option with Kaepernick and are student of that system? Of course, the Eagles crushed it the week before.

Going directly to your point, the Skins have long "blah" periods in games when they don't pick each other up -- one unit to the next -- and the result is long runs of points by their foes. Special teams usually inject energy into a good team. The Skins special teams may be the worst I've ever seen. They deflate the team as soon as they step on the field. On one punt return last night, the punt returner wasn't touched for the first 18 yards of the return -- and he did nothing except run up field -- and when he was was touched it was a slap on the hip as he ran past.

If Robert holds onto to the ball for an eternity and never throws it away to avoid a sack, why should we blame the offensive line for that sack? Just because he wants to "make something happen" doesn't mean it's a good idea to take a sack.

Which came first, the clobbering or the happy feet? He's running for his life __or he must feel like it. When he hangs in the pocket, he sometimes gets passes batted back. So he's tempted to create a secondary pocket by flushing left or right. 

The Skins sack totals aren't that high, but the number of times he's been hit or had to scramble or reset the pocket is very high. There's a stat site where you can find "hits" on QBs when they attempt to pass. Forgotten it this second.

Do Rizzo and Billy Beane really like each other, or does each think the other is a sucker?

They RESPECT each other. They see "fits" -- deal that help themselves and the other team. They both trade from surplus to fill needs. The Nats will strengthen their LH side of the pen this winter, you assume. So they don't need Abad and didn't protect him on the 40-man. But he has a good arm, Billy knows it, so the Nats got back a little "long shot" piece for a pitcher they didn't need.

These are the best kind of trading partners -- both smart, but in different leagues so they can sync up as often as they want.

Was this a great move by the Cardinals? Peralta had a great year with Tigers and was one of the few to hit during the playoffs.

It's good fit and improves one of their few weak spots -- yes, Pete Kozma is a weak spot. But that's a lot of years and dollars ($4/53M) for a players who just did 50 days in the PED hoosegow.

This contract has already led to calls for tougher penalties for PED users. And it probably should.

The Nats relied on LaRoche and "Crash" Harper last year for power from the left side. LaRoche had a bad year and Harper kept getting hurt. If they both come back strong this year, the Nats are OK, but what will they do for a Plan B if injuries or lack of production happen again?

There's no Plaan B for Harper, that's for sure. He'll hit. He hit when he was semi-hurt for months. It's just a question of whether he'll be good or much better than good. Be interesting to see if Nats try to get some LH power insurance.

Did anyone ask Mike/Kyle why they went with Roy Helu over Alfred Morris on 4th and 2 at the postgame press conference?

Yes. Mike said something about being "a bit of a gambler" as a play caller as if it was HIS call. Come on, it almost certainly wasn't. The OC calls that. Or certainly should. Maybe Mike was part of the conversation.

Terrible call. Morris should be on the field in that situation whether he gets the ball or not. 49ers also stopped Helu on at least one 3rd-and-short.

Skins don't seem to trust Morris' hands as a receiver out of the backfield. But you need to improve him to the point where he can play in a big spot like that and be seen as a plausible receiver for a short pass, too.

Hello Tom: Can you tell me why fans tolerate the endless commercial interruptions during college and pro football games? Why do 60-minute football games take over 3.5 hours to play? It amazes me that the leagues can get away with this. Contrast this with English Premier League soccer. The 90-minute games always finish in less than two hours, the games interesting and exciting, and there are no commercial interruptions. I don't see how American football could ever become popular in countries where people grew up watching soccer.

In England I've heard that the NFL didn't "take" quickly because it was considered an incredibly slow sport. Partly that's the contrast with soccer. Partly it's the extra 30 minutes of commercials, replays and general crud that have seeped into the game.

The NFL is meant for taping and watching in 60-to-70 minutes, not 3 1/2 hours. Then it has enough action. At it's current pace I think it has at least as much of a "slow pace" problem as baseball. But the NFL problem is interruptions. There's only 15-to-18 minutes of action in an NFL game. That's enough. IF the game takes 2:50 from 1:05 kickoff to 3:55 finish.


I found myself thinking about Larry Brown, the great Redskins running back from the 70's and that front page photo in the Post's sports section with the banner that read "Brown is Beautiful". What was it like to cover him as a reporter and how is it that we don't celebrate him like we do other great DC players?

Good question. I was covering Carroll, Cardozo, Springbrook and T.C. Williams high school games back then, not Larry! He doesn't get remembered around here nearly as much as he should for...a NFL MVP on a team that went to the Super Bowl. Only played eight years, had five excellent ones. Listed as 66 now. Hope he's doing fine. Sorry I don't know more. May try to find out. Ken Denlinger, who did write about those Allen/Brown teams for the Post, mentioned to me recently that Morris reminded him of Brown. That's a high compliment.

Anyone notice that the Buccaneers have the same record as the Redskins? At least we'll have a great draft pick next year. Wait, we gave them all away to get our hero, Robert? Ruh, roh.

Think you mean St. Louis Rams.

BTW, if Skins hadn't had miracle win (gift) vs Chargers they'd be 2-9 and tied with Falcons and Texans for worst record in NFL.

Reading about the head injury problems and challenges of Tony Dorsett and Leonard Marshal was heartbreaking. I look forward to the day when the NFL is replaced by world-class soccer competition. But I love hockey; learning the game from watching Gordie Howe as a little kid and there's no substitute (shinty?). But I don't look forward to hearing about the problems Sidney Crosby, Rick Nash and others will likely have in 10-20 years. My question is, in the world we live in today, is it possible that the NFL could fail to solve it's problems and disappear while the NHL is solves its head injury problem and survives?

I'm surprised hockey isn't a bigger sport. Not a LOT bigger. It's a tough sport to get a true "feel" for unless you played it, imo. But you pick it up with time. If hockey gets a better commissioner and gets over its labor and head-injury problems -- big "ifs" -- it can grow.

This is the peak of the NFL. Or maybe just past it. It's not going to disappear -- not in 10, 20 or 30 years. But I think it's position will gradually come down a few clicks over the next 10 years. And more than that in 20. It has inherent injury (head) problems which I suspect are ineradicable.

Watching Griffin's press conference last night, what struck me most is how composed and content he always seems. How little passion he shows. How he never seems upset. We've heard all about his military upbringing and his work ethic, but in your experience, do athletes who seem this satisfied with their lives generally do what's necessary to reach their full potential?

RGIII works incredibly hard. If anybody in the current Skins mess of a season deserves plenty of slack, it's Griffin.

It's hard to learn to play QB in the NFL. And it's hard to play QB at 22 and 23 for the Skins, a team that is still more reality TV and 24/7 "W-L record equals value as human being" circus than football franchise.

Appreciated your piece the other day on Ovechkin and Oates, and in that vein, I'm wondering if you know whether Bryce Harper and Matt Williams have met since he was hired as Nationals manager. Las Vegas and Phoenix aren't that distant, and Matt starred at UNLV (albeit some years before Bryce was born, which really makes me feel old). On the surface, they would seem to be a good blend of personalities, and I'm hoping Williams can help with the holes in Harper's game (specifically hitting lefties).

I assume Williams will visit a few players and Harper will be one of them. I don't know it. But it would seem natural.

I understand that making a change causes roster upheaval, but how on earth can Mike Shanahan keep his job? As you pointed out this morning, the defense has been a disaster. The offensive line can't pass protect. The "scheme" involves letting Aldon Smith a clean rush at the franchise QB. If the players aren't any good, that's on the guy who picks the players. If the scheme isn't any good, that's on the guy who picks the coaches and develops the scheme. If the players aren't well coached, that's on the head coach who picks the position coaches. In all those cases, that's Mike Shanahan. He has to go...plain and simple.

You HAVE to keep Shanahan for the rest of this year. There's nobody else on the property who can do the job. It would be insanity. And see what the last five games brings. The Skins are at a VERY low point after these last three games.

I'm not a fan of Shanahan as a coach, but I'm not a knocker. I think, at this point, he's a pretty good NFL coach -- great on offensive Xs and Os -- who hasn't got a clue whom to hire as defensive coordinator and, except for a few important offensive positions (QB, RB, you know, those LITTLE positions) doesn't have any special gifts for picking players in the draft. IOW, he's a below average GM. It's a tough spot. If you fire him, you're going to discover that 10 players you thought were pretty good were just Shanny Players and their value will plummet. Also, who's better and available? Gruden is a wonderfully fun TV guy but I can't imagine he's crazy enough to jump into Skinsmania. He looks crazy but I don't think he's actually nuts.

Also, Snyder/Allen wouldn't be my choices to pick "the next great coach" who is under 45 (or under 40). 

Who wants to jump into a team that has given up three No. 1 and a No. 2 AND has lost roster quality due to the salary cap hit. Remember, that cap hit didn't just damage those two years. The Skins would have used that money (presumably) for roster upgrades for players who, once you had them, would STAY here for years, perhaps many years -- not just these last two seasons. You can never get back those Players Who Never Arrived. 

Does an establish star coach want the job? Remember, nobody wanted the gig when the Skins ended up with Zorn. How many would think it wonderful to work with RGIII vs. how many would wonder about working for a franchise where RGII shows up at press conferences and, last night, was apparently IN the lcoker room after a defeat. (I didn't see RGIII's dad when I was in there. But I wasn't looking for him!) What is THAT about. He gets in my room -- the one I'll never have -- for ONE SECOND. I don't care if he's the QB's father, grandfather, aunt and uncle all rolled into one. (How does RGIII, who is only 23, really feel about that? What's he going to say to the father he adores? Tough spot.)

In such an awkward situation, the coach has to step up and be the bad guy, the adult, make the decision. You know, the tough decision -- like taking RGIII out against Seattle even though you might lose and end your season. (Guess he didn't make that one either.)   

Suffering from my MLB adication and desperate for a fix, any insider news you can share? Even an unsubstanciated rumor would help get me through this tough stretch.

The Nats (and O's) are letting us down. Come on, somebody start some rumors.

When Rizzo has a Major Need, he usually fills it very quickly -- he lknows what he wants and strikes first.

Otherwise, he tends to wait, let everything shake out and make deals or signings at the tail end of the off-season. So, we'll find out pretty soon whether there will be any pre-Xmas surprises. He said there were no huge needs. But LHer in pen and another SP -- though probably not a $12-to-$15M one -- certainly seem like needs.

Loved your article this morning. Do you see any similarities with Tebow, in terms of deflated expectations, inability to deliver, etc?

No, no, no.

RGIII has wonderful tools, strong personality. He's your franchise QB. Maybe you give Cousins a couple of starts though, in this town, that QB Controversy turns the D.C. nonsense factor up to inside-the-cyclotron force.

It's really sad to see him regressing as a QB and facing every destructive aspect of Sk-insanity. But if he gets through it, he'll be one tough QB. And I assume he will. But when and with what coach I couldn't tell you -- not after the last few weeks.

Boz love your chats. First I am a Nats fan and only casually follow football and I am not a Redskin fan. So I have no horse in this race but living in the DC area I get more than my share of Redskin news. It was troubling to me this morning to read reports of RGIII's father in the locker room consoling him after the loss last night. I have always heard in sports that the locker room is off limits to friends and family since it is their work place yet his father was apparently in there even before the reporters were allowed in. I can't imagine someone like Jayson Werth allowing that to happen at Nats Park. While this isn't the end of the world it appears to me this is just another example of it being more about RGIII than the team. As much hoopla as Stephen Strausburg and Bryce Harper met coming into the major leagues, it pales in comparison to the hype and self promoting media machine that is RGIII. Do you think the Redskins made a mistake to mortgage their future on what appears to be a me first quarterback who's only success in his entire career is one win in the Alamo Bowl, a Heisman Trophy which is a popularity contest and a six game winning streak?

As I said in previous answer, I think RGIII has the tools, the smarts and the toughness to get through this and steadily improve. I don't think the NFL (or the Skins) will ruin him. Though the Skins have ruined some un-ruinable folks.

Yes, I suspect Werth would have a few veteran words -- not harsh ones, but sensible ones -- if Harper or Strasburg had parents in the room after a loss like that. Or at any time minutes after a game.  But Bryce and Strasburg's parents wouldn't do it. I'm surprised RGII did. But then he's "spoken for" RGIII in the past. I doubt III entirely appreciates it. (Maybe I'm "projecting.") 

Good play recently, but what do you think is realistic for this team?

I think Randy Wittman is a good coach and I hope they get it turned around before he has problems. One day, if one of Wall's hot shooting streaks turns out NOT to be just a "streak," followed by reversion to bricklayer, he is going to be one helluva point guard. As I keep saying, just want that last 20 Wade-like games of last season to be prologue.

Realistic? Stop talking W-L record or "playoffs." Just work on becoming A Good Basketball Team. Row backwards. Focus. Don't look over your shoulder at the finish line 82 times a season.

The stories about the teammates giving him the selfish nickname and RGIII demanding the coaching staff not show his bad plays in the film room, do you think this is completely false, or do you think where there is smoke there is fire?

"Almost completely false" is where I am now. 

At 10-6, he was the most wonderful person on earth. Now, at 3-8, he's RGMe. What a world. You know, nobody ever tried to write a bad play. These guys aren't trying to play badly.

Shanahan pointed out last night -- yes, self-serving but still interesting -- that the Skins rank in the league in offense, defense and special teams was very similar to last year. He said "28th defense, 31st special teams and fifth offense." Then he said that "turnovers" -- the huge NFL X Factor -- was the big difference in the seasons.

And the facts, please.

Last year Skins were fifth (best) in yards on offense, 28th in yards allowed and No. 1 (best) in turnovers.

This year, Skins are seventh best in yards on offense (though only 19th in points), 28th in yards allowed (but 31st in points) and tied for 19th in turnovers.

I was just told, by chat moderator Kelyn Soong, he of infinite patience, that Bradley Beal is out at least two weeks for a stress injury in the leg he injured last season. Maybe it doesn't help "stress" injuries to be tied for FIRST in the NBA in minutes per game (40.23, tied with Carmelo Anthony) when you are 20 and, perhaps, still growing. So, that's not a big plus for Wittman. 

Why does everyone assume that Snyder has to decide on Shanahan's fate at the end of THIS season? He still has a year left on his contract. Let him feel the pressure of coaching for his job, just like his players have to do without guaranteed contracts.

Point taken. It's been long enough since he stood the NFL on its ear that I don't see any (overwhelming) reason why he can't coach next year without an extended deal. Life's tough. As they say in other sports, "Wear the job," inhabit it, show confidence, ignore your contract status and do your job. Yes, it's easier when you are at the start of a five-year deal. But 24-35 brings its own reality. Lets see how they finish -- both in record and by the eye test.

You mentioned this in your column today, but what does it say about the team chemistry that the linemen didn't even bother to help RGIII up after hits? It reflects pretty poorly on the team when opposing players are the ones helping out their supposed leader, right?

I think it means somebody ought to smack a couple of 'em in the helmet ear hole when they walk off the field and get their attention.

Some coaches recognize that special teams are valuable and some don't. George Allen and Joe Gibbs knew it and their special teams stole a win or two every year. Norv Turner didn't know it and his special teams lost a game or two every year. It's not that hard to make special teams a priority. Of course if your GM has a hard time finding talented players for the offense and defense, I guess that will trickle down to the special teams.

Last night Shanahan said they were "31st" last year in special teams -- I assume that is some sort of composite grade. So, if accurate, that might, in part, explain a special teams coaching change with Danny Smith leaving. It doesn't explain why, even with Lorenzo Alexander gone and a salary cap hit, that they are THIS awful with a new special teams coach. (Yes, it explains it in part.)

"if Skins hadn't had miracle win (gift) vs Chargers they'd be 2-9," and if they hadn't played the Raiders and Bears while they used backup QB's they could be 0-11. Anybody who doesn't think this team is very, very bad, and not just sort of bad/unlucky is delusional. Shanny made a big stink about how very bad teams don't have the sixth best offense in the league (or whatever); I wish someone would have asked him if they'd have the 6th best offense in the league without all the points/yards amassed in garbage time.

I suspect that, at the moment, Shanny will accept as his very own any precious yard of garbage that can be attributed to his brilliance.

In a post-game interview, Sonny Jurgensen mentioned, in a question to Shanahan, that the Skins only had ONE first down in the second half. "I didn't know that," said Shanahan in a very quiet voice. You had to hear it to -- maybe -- feel kind of sorry for him. It was an "OMG" split second.

Not a question, just a thought. You know how people said one reason Shanahan came back was to cement his Hall of Fame credentials? Well...I think he's done that. His tenure here has confirmed that was a good coach - a VERY good coach for a stretch - but not a Hall of Famer. Sometimes the answer we get is not the one we wanted.

I suspect that thought has crossed his mind. Maybe "cement" turned into "cement block."

I don't think the Skins will "lose out." But if they do, as I mentioned last week, Shanny would have the same winning percentage (exactly) in his four Skins years as Zorn and Spurrier did in their two-year stints: .375.

I've seen regular season games. I'm not sure that last adjective applies. What's up with the soccernistas showing up today?

Soccer is exciting if you understand soccer.

I'm told.

A few billion people seem to agree.

I find it more interesting and artful -- especially at the highest levels -- than exciting. It takes a rooting interest -- like U.S. in World Cup -- for it to come completely alive for me. I know: My loss. 

The NFL Network's "Red Zone" channel is the only way to watch football these days. Non-stop action and you see every game. Best invention since sliced bread.

I see your point.

But highlights can never be "a game."

Isn't that cheating, like eating the frosting off a chocolate cake with your finger?

Highlights, highlights and nothing but highlights....hrumphhhh...get off my lawn.

Shanahan is sandwiched in between Jimmy Johnson and Ditka in terms of playoff wins. If JJ gets into the Hall of Fame this year, Shanahan is going, too. He is a good coach. But so was Joe Gibbs ...

That'll be a good debate. I did a scan of coach win-percentage numbers in the chat last week. So I'll avoid this "where does he stand in history" discussion today. I'd summarize it as "very good, but not as high as I thought." Of course, 24-35 hurt a lot.

Did you see this? "Some of my best friends are native Americans..." Did you find this as cynical and contrived as I (and hopefully all thinking people) did? Pathetic..trotting out those brave veterans as tokens to make a point.

1) A fitting tribuite to wonderful people.

2) Better late than never.

3) Typical "Skins."

4) All of the above.

I will say that I put both my hands over my head, involuntarily, when I heard about it. Then, after I stopped laughing, I said, "Okay, okay..."

It sounds like Bradley Beal has reinjured his bad leg, which should come as no surprise since Wittman has been running him 40+mins a game (most in the NBA) fresh off of a stress fracture. Decent x/o guy, but that's a fireable offense.

See, chatters are ahead of me. This was in the cue before I could answer it.

Not fireable. But a forehead smacker if it turns out to be worse than a couple of weeks.

Ciao Tom, I haven't read a discussion about this yet, but wasn't the $36million cap penalty because they accelerated dead money into the uncapped year? If so, the cap penalty isn't really $36 million, but $36 million minus the dead money that they off-loaded into the uncapped year. Any idea how much that was? How about for which players? I recall AH accounting for about $20 mil of dead money. My point is that there really isn't that great a penalty since they no longer have to contend with the dead-money. thanks, -curious

It was largely the Albert Dump.

I hadn't thought of it that way. Let me think it through and ask around. Thanks.

Boz, here's slow, fat one down the plate: I am curious about the transportation habits of the Nats. I mean, with the terrible traffic in these parts, how does the entire team always make it to the Park on time? I know that a few of them live in close-in (even walking distance) to the Park; but, others live in the VA 'burbs. It's cold and rainy out and I don't want to discuss the awfulness of the local football team anymore.

They arrive at the only time of day that anyone can survive D.C. area traffic -- ~3 p.m. -- or at least before rush hour.

Can you explain to me Randy Edsall's thought process when he called a timeout to "ice" the kicker? To me, there was NO pressure on the kicker. Worse case scenario was overtime. Plus, at 52 yards, he was playing with house money. Edsel > Edsall

There is "Buzzard Luck" and "Edsall Luck."Which is worse?

(From: "Can't kill nothin' and nothin' will die.")

The "decision" there is simply "which way do I feel lucky." There is no "better" option, no rule of thumb. But Edsall picked the way that could make him look worst -- and that's what happened.

Only Edsall could "thaw" a kicker named Freese.

(But nice win over Virginia Tech. Too bad about the celebration dance.)

I think RG3 got too much credit for the hot run last season and is getting way too much punishment for this season. This is an awful football team, don't forget before the hot run last season Shanny pretty much gave up on the season after the Carolina game. I fear that we are one bad decision away (ie benching RG3, destroying the relationship with this team and city) from a total Patrick Roy trade away the future of the team blow up and years of Jacksonville like rebuilding. He is who we have and I'm sure that there are probably 25 teams that would trade for him today so he is way better than the other choices. We need to tone down the expectations and have some patience. No team that really is a championship caliber team starts a sixth round pick at Safety the first game of the season (Rambo).

Some good points.

Every sport is easier once you give up on the season -- that is, if you keep trying.

Will they keep on trying? Really trying?

Nats, who were almost as frustrated and ruined expectations, did. They could have let 54-60, after the sweep at Nats Park by the Braves, turn into a 16-32 finish for 70-92. That happens to teams. Happened to the Red Sox in '12. They had to fire manager, change players and catch lightning in a bottle in '13.

Instead, Nats finished 32-16 for 86-76 and something to build on. Skins need to do something similar, if they can. Atlanta, Giants twice, are games against losing teams. Show up.

Virtually every organization I have encountered in my professional life reflects the culture of its management. The skins have had numerous coaches, talented players, highly regarded draft picks and yet are still mediocre. Has it dawned on anyone within the organization what the real problem is.

Dawned? Like the light from a nuclear blast. You have to wear goggles not to be blinded by it.

"Mediocre" is beyond generous. Under the coaches that Snyder has actually hired himself (starting with Schottenheimer in '01), the Skins are 86-117, despite spending with both hands and both feet. Nice work! That's .424, awful in any sport.

On nearly every passing down Kory L, Will Montgomery, and Tyler Polumbus are immediately pushed deep into backfield. This, no doubt, plays a huge role in Griffin's struggles, especially with the timing of his throws and ability to go through progressions. The Skins offensive line has been truly offensive, but for the most part has escaped much criticism. What gives? If they don't solve this HUGE problem, RG3s career will be wasted lying down on his back under opposing DTs.

I watched the replay last night. It didn't look any better between 2:30 and 4 a.m. The O-line was OVERRUN. Too small. Stomped. Tossed like toddlers. In a word, Palumbused (new NFL verb).

In Denver, Shanny used smaller O-linemen because they had good footwork and coordination for stretch plays but ALSO because the Mile High altitude exhausted foes and lighter linemen suffered less. So, the altitude was part of his success because he found a smart way to use it as an edge -- smaller quicker O-linemen.

Perhaps it has escaped Mike's gimlet eye that Washington, D.C. is at sea level.

Boz, do you see the Nats taking a run at signing Cano? He'd sure fit nicely in the line-up and free up Rendon to trade for a solid young No. 4 starter.


Would require an idiotic contract. Don't even consider it. And they won't.

Though they may not DENY it if it helps Boras make a market with other teams. Of course, somebody would have to plant the rumor. Scott would never do that, would he? It's a world with plenty of back scratching.

Kilgore had a great piece today on whether the Nats will sign Cano. After everything we've seen from the Lerners so far, I can't see it happening. We could sure use his bat, though. Thoughts?

I guess I have some fun reading in front of me.

Will the Skins ever hire a true GM under Snyder? One of the most damning indictments of the Shanahan regime is his retention of Vinny's scouting staff. Isn't it time to clean house on the personnel side, by bringing in a true GM and a legitimate scouting staff?

Vinny had scouts?

Can you think of a team that is more deserving of Brian McCann than the Evil Pinstripe Empire? McCann's self-entitlement and arrogance should fit right in.

Gee, I think of McCann more in terms of seven-time All-Star, great guy, team leader and only 29. If you're a Braves fan, you probably think it's a plus that he spit in the Nats cereal whenever possible. That's his job.

Maybe the Yankees can ruin him. But I doubt it.

Don't know if you saw this, but your buddy, Billy Ripken, proposed a trade last week on MLB Network. B. Ripken had Scherzer going to the Nats for Storen, Rendon and a high level prospect. He cited Rizzo being familiar with Scherzer from their Ariz. days ( M.Williams too ?). This was before the Fielder for Kinsler deal. Still, I'm guessing Cabrera moves to 1B opening up 3B - Rendon's natural position. Also, Scherzer is represented by the self appointed co -GM, Scott Boras.

I wouldn't trust Billy's insight into things Nationals. Good guy. But not his strong suit.

The Ravens are having a really bad year (by their standards), yet as much doom and gloom may be felt by their fans (all NFL Fans are the same), there is still no worry about the long term or about any locker room cancers. It shows that if you have strong leadership at the top, you can handle bad seasons knowing there is a long term plan for success.

Oh, I forgot to mention this in the story this a.m. There is definitely a little "feeling" between the Ravens and Skins at the management level -- you know "Steve" and "Mr. Snyder." Ravens don't mind Skins failures, see it as Justice writ large for running a team properly. You can be pretty sure that one Harbaugh brother has communicated with the other Harbaugh coach to say, "Way to CRUSH 'em on National TV, bro."

That's it for this week. See you next Monday. I'm STILL reading all the great questions. Thanks.

I thought Cano's agent was Jay Z?

THANK YOU. Absolutely. Forgot he switched. Or, rather, maybe the 4 a.m. bed time helped me forget. Roseanne Roseannadanna and I both close by saying, "Never mind."

In This Chat
Thomas Boswell
A Washington Post columnist since 1984, Thomas Boswell is known for the many books he has written on baseball, including "How Life Imitates the World Series" and "Why Time Begins on Opening Day."
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