The Washington Post

Ask Boswell: Redskins, Nationals and Washington sports

Nov 24, 2014

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

What's missing from the breakdown by Gruden and Cooley of Griffin scanning the wrong side of the field, taking the wrong drops, etc. (along with him fumbling yesterday by apparently forgetting he had a fullback in the game) is some explanation of how this could be happening. I've never heard these specific criticisms of any NFL quarterback, ever. As recently as two weeks ago, the most scathing assessments of Griffin still included phrases like "One thing that can't be questioned is his work ethic," and characterizations of him as highly intelligent. Then Steve Young came out with a different point of view. How does all of this add up? What should we really think about his work ethic and/or intelligence?

I'd discount -- NOT disregard, but discount -- the Young quote since he and Shanny are ancient buddies from SF days. He owes Mike and has seen the best/smartest of him. But, still, give it some weight (like a 50 percent off post-holiday sale).

I've seldom seen opinion shift so fast from "needs to learn" and "this will take time" and "be patient" -- all of which seems logical and is a normal reaction -- to "what has this guy been doing for THREE years?"

Griffin, in person, is clearly intelligent and, as far as physical conditioning he has been fanatical his whole athletic life. I think fans know, but perhaps don't give enough weight to the enormous difference between the kind of spread read-option offense Griffin ran in college -- the type many teams have run for years -- and the NFL game where learning to read defenses, acquire pocket presence (of mind), is so central. He's not learning a new sport. But a high percentage of the smarts he developed before he came to the NFL -- like how to "read" the option -- do him little good now.

He certainly looks lost. SF is good. But should anybody be good enough to hold an offense to 77 net yards (including negative sack yardage) on 26 pass-play calls (including sacks and Garcon trick play. That's a hair less than 3.0 yards per pass call. And on a day when Morris' 125 yards should have done a perfect job of setting up play action passes.

While I agree it's refreshing to hear Gruden "tell it like it is," doesn't this ultimately come back to bite him? He's the coach! If the team is not taking things seriously, doesn't know the playbook, etc. etc. etc., who's fault is that? Clearly he's frustrated but it's hard to throw your players under the bus without running over yourself as well.

Nice sentence: "It's hard to throw your team under the bus without running over yourself as well." Good point. If the team can't get lined up properly or know the snap count or know assignments, that's on the coaches, too. It's usually thought to be on the coaches first. The penalties on Washington special teams are astronomical, too.

Another line from a fan about this team was in "comments" the other day (Barry Moyer, I think was his name.) "The dumpster fire is becoming an eternal flame."

The defense was almost noble on Sunday overcoming so many injuries. But if you can't win -- home OR road --when you have a +3 turnover day (until the final minute), then you blew an opportunity. +3 in the NFL is overwhelming.

And when you get an interception from Greg Ducre and a fumble recovery from safety Phillip Thomas -- how many could have named them both before the game? -- you've really spit on some good karma/luck.

Now they get Luck.

Given what the Red Sox just paid for Ramirez and Sandoval? The $107M for Desi, given that it included two arbitration years, was around 18M for the next five years - exactly what Ramirez got.

Desmond is worth more on the market right now than either Panda (supposedly about $100M for 5 yrs) or HanRam ($90M/5yrs).

Look up Desmond's WAR (FanGraphs) for the last three seasons combined. It's over 14 wins. Next-best shortstop is much-injured Troy Tulowitzski, just over 10 wins. Nobody else over 10.0. So Ian has the biggest gap (over the last three years) of any player at any position in MLB. I checked this a couple of weeks ago. Hope I didn't forget anybody (Cano among second basemen). But the point is the same: Desmond stands out more at his position and is only 29. And he's a SS who hits. Panda may "outgrow" third base during these five ears. The Dodgers thought Ramirez was such a defensive liability that, in '13, one of their best baseball people told me "with age he's lost range and he's just a bad shortstop now."

Nonetheless, those $90M and $100M numbers, if correct, show that the Nats $107M offer was in the fair range, if you include some home-market discount.

Zimmerman and Werth both got $126M deals. All situations are different. Desmond plays a tougher defensive position, but he's also a strikeout machine. Desmond has rare power for a SS, but he probably should hit No. 6 in a very good lineup while Werth and Z'maann can handle 3-4-5.

If Nats offer Desmond something like $126M offered to Desmond, that would make sense to me. It might not to Ian.  He gets $11M for '15. So that's another $115M for the five years through '20 when he'll still only be 34 (9/28/85.)

Desmond has one extra benefit. With age, many shortstops have moved comfortable to 2nd base and suddenly looked very good defensively -- like Astrubal Cabrera last year. So, if Desmond needs to move off SS at 33 or 34, there might be a natural place for him, just as Z'man has a natural "age/injury" move to 1st base, which I assume he'll make next year, and Werth has a natural age move from RF to LF when Harper is good enough defensively to play RF. (GMs do think about this stuff.)   

I know coaching continuity is supposed to be a good thing, and Snyder is rich as Croesus, but there's no way Gruden will come close to coaching five years, meaning another multi-million dollar payout. Nice work if you can get it.

Gruden got a five-year deal but not at a high enough price to damage the franchise and he doesn't count against any salary cap. I'm glad he got the money. And I certainly think the team "played for him" on Sunday.

With reports stating Pablo Sandoval wll sign with the Bosox (on top of news that Hanley Ramirez will join the New England Evil Empire), can Mike Rizzo pounce from the sidelines to take advantage of this sudden shift in MLB terrain? He's been very cautious so far this Hot Stove season (perhaps too cautious for some in D.C.), establishing the 40-man roster and such, but is it now time for the Nationals to make a decision regarding a second baseman and the future of Doug Fister, Jordan Zimmermann or both? (BTW, congrats to Adam LaRoche for signing with the Chisox; they will love him on the South Side.)

Nothing has happened yet that impacts the Nats except that some decent talent  has left the N.L. and gone to places where it can't hurt the Nats unless they get to a Series -- Sandoval, Ramirez, LaRoche all to A.L.

Losing Sandoval certainly hurts the Giants. LaRoche is lucky/wise not to go to the Marlins (as rumored) where the huge park would have hurt him. He has fly ball power to left center that would have been utterly negated there. Now, he's even in a DH league.

The Cards got better with the Jason Heyward for Shelby Miller trade. But the Braves got worse, making the N.L. East easier. Heyward gets huge dWAR value for his Gold Glove defense -- like a total WAR 5.0-a-year for the last three seasons. His on-base percentage the last three years (.345) is good enough to fit into the Cards style of offense. Looks like Cards-Nats as early off-season favorites for '15. But there are a lot of fireworks left to come.

He seems to have less ego than most ballplayers but I would assume that like any athlete, he would like to be appreciated for his abilities. Do you think the Nats' tendency to regard Strasburg as their ace has had/will have an impact on their ability to sign him? After all, he'd be the ace on almost any team without a pitcher named Kershaw or maybe a couple others.

Z'mann doesn't strike me as the jealous type. But I do think he wants appreciation in the form of a market-value contract. Otherwise, there are lots of teams closer to his Wisconsin home. The problem, for me, is that "market value" contracts for starting pitchers as they approach 30 are often very stupid. At that age, history says you pay the everyday players first, then the star pitchers if you can afford it.

If he got a Greinke-level contract offer ~$150-M) , I assume he likes playing for the Nats enough to take it. But I'm never going to beat the drum for a $150-million contract for a pitcher unless he's under 30 and also going to the HOF. The day Kevin Brown signed his >$100M deal many years ago I wrote that it would be the worst contract in a long time and that -- if you looked at every comparable pitcher -- he'd average about 11 wins a year over the term of the contract. He averaged 11 wins.

Look up the 10 pitchers who are the closest stat matches to Z'mann at the same age. It's a sobering, but wise thing to study. From age 29 onward ('15 in Z'mann's case) they averaged five more years in the big leagues, a 56-48 record, 3.62 ERA and 11.2 WAR (maybe >$50-55M in value). And those numbers are pulled up by Carl Hubbell and Orel Hershiser.

Who are some of the other career clones of Z'mann at 28? It's a good group because they aren't from ancient times but can be remembered by many fans: Josh Johnson (injuries), Ed Figueroa, Doug Rau, David Palmer, Pat Jarvis, John (The Count of) Montefusco and Charlie Lea.

Z'mann is also on his "second elbow." Just a fact. A second Tommy John surgery doesn't have nearly as good results. I'm a huge Z'mann appreciator. But you have to be hard-eyed at some price points. FWIW, looking at comparable careers is usually scary -- including in Desmond's case. J.J. Hardy, Orlando Cabrera, Juan Uribe, Brandon Phillips.

What, no Ernie Banks, Honus Wagner or Cal Ripken?

These very good Nats players. They are also very tough choices. When Ryan Zimmerman got his extension, he seemed like a far more "safe" $100M investment. And I think he will still prove to be worth it. Shifts to first base at age 30 tend to work out well. Rod Carew went from second base to first base at almost exactly the mid-point of his career, right at Z'man's age -- he hit .328 before the move and .328 after the move.  But the Z'man example, with all the injuries he's had, despite being an exceptionally fit athlete, will certainly point up the dangers to the Lerners.

We'll return to these subjects again for years with Strasburg, Rendon, Harper, etc. My working assumption is that the Nats will have a max of five $100-M players on their payroll at any one time. They already have two. So, pick the three you want. I doubt it'll be more.


Hi Tom, One of the things taught in Management 101 is that a supervisor praises an employee's performance in public and criticizes in private. Coach Gruden's critique of Robert Griffin's Tampa game last week violated that principle. Why did he do it? I doubt that Griffin will be inspired to do better by such a brutal, public evaluation.

I see your point. Maybe he was just a bit too candid. BUT that's not the only interpretation: If the message isn't getting across in private, maybe you make it in public so that it hits home harder -- and also shows other players there are no "favorites," or owner's pets. 

Gruden seems like a player's coach, an easy guy to like, but he's marking his turf, too. Yesterday, he benched David Amerson for a whole game for "breaking a team rule." That could easily have cost them a game.  By the fourth quarter, the "next man up" at cornerback would have been WR Santana Moss! So, Gruden certainly sent a message: We're weak at cornerback, but I'm benching a starting cornerback over a rule violation that nobody -- outside the team -- even knows about.

I'm a transplanted Clevelander. Since the Browns returned to Cleveland, their futility, on- and off-field issues, coaching carousel, etc., have pretty much rivaled the Redskins. It took them two weeks longer than any other NFL team to fill their head coaching vacancy last off-season, when they settled for their 5th of 6th choice. But the Browns are now 7-4 and in the thick of the playoff hunt. As they say, even a blind pig finds an acorn sometime. On the other hand, they are not owned by Daniel Snyder.

All good points. And also more team nickname potential.

The Washington Blind Pigs.

Then you really could call them the Pigskins.

Boz, They look sharp so far, with a deep bench and a good mix of experience and youth. If the Wiz stay healthy, how deep can they go, and what could hold them back from going farther in the playoffs this time around?

Right now, I'm fascinated with the Wiz. They played a wonderful game beating the Cavs and I'm looking forward to the rematch in Cleveland on Weds night.

I think that one game showed some really basic matchup edges that the Wiz have on the Cavs. Love (eight pts) was almost a non-factor and that was certainly in part because the Wiz' have three big men, at least, who may give him trouble and can follow him out to the three-point line: Gortat, Nene and Seraphin, who had an excellent game. Humphries gives them another big body.

Wall and Irving are both wonderful -- probably a push. Irving is scoring more -- 21.8 to 19.3. But I'd take Wall on his higher assists (9.1, fourth in NBA) and steals (2.67, first). 

Paul Pierce doesn't look old yet. His shooting percentage needs to come up a little. But he's continuing his long history of battling LeBron as well as almost anybody. Nobody neutralizes James, but Pierce reduces the huge gap in production that almost all teams face in the LeBron matchup. 

The Cavs have no answer for Beal, that I see. The Wiz really play team ball, make interior passes better than the Cavs, rebound better and are committed to defense. At least for now, with the Cavs learning each other, I like the Wiz chances.

However, the Wiz 9-3 record is built on nine wins against teams that are .500 or worse and they have lost to all three >.500 teams they have faced -- 11-2 Toronto by 19, Miami and Dallas.

The Wiz are very deep, very experienced (except for Wall/Beal) and have a really basketball-smart core with Miller, Webster (coming back), Gooden as well as cornerstones Gortat and Nene. 

As far as I am concerned, a lifelong Washingtonian, the Nats and Wiz, or Wiz and Nats -- who both reached the round of eight n their previous seasons -- are BY FAR the most interesting pro teams in town. Trotz is trying hard, but the Caps are 21st in the NHL in points and it sure looks like they window for a finals is or has closed just as the Nats and Wiz have great opportunities. Looks like Nats and Wiz both have perfectly reasonable paths to the Final Four in their sport or even a Finals/World Series. Nats, if they get to a Series, probably have a better chance against an A.L. team than the Wiz might have against the winner of a tough Western Conference.

Still, isn't it fun just to think about such things!

And it just makes it all the more ridiculous that the town still spends so much time on the tacky 10th-rate soap opera in Ashburn surrounding a team that stinks and will continue to smell for quite a while.

The "ceiling" for Griffin is now "he can't possibly be THIS bad...maybe someday he'll be OK...well, maybe." McCoy and Cousins, bless 'em, are pipe dreams. It'd be fun to see one of them take the job by the throat at some point. But, come on, seriously, this is a lousy team because it's a lousy overall franchise run by people who have proven their level of management skills. Let's see, what would that level be? Oh, lousy.

These are the Wiz and Nats among our pro teams. Enjoy them. If you have ever enjoyed basketball, don't miss this Wiz team or say, "I don't like the NBA" or "The NBA lost me X years ago." There is only good basketball and not-good basketball.  Good defense is the same in every era. Same with good rebounding, good passing, unselfishness. This Wiz team isn't Old School (though some would say so) or New School (though a point guard who wins dunk contests is pretty New School!). It is just Good School.

I know everything these days is about maximizing contract dollars but in your opinion do Z-mann and Desi really want to stay? It seems like they both just want to cash in. If so, maybe they should both be traded.

My take: Desmond, yes. Zimmermann, yes, but he loves proximity to Wisconsin.

Zimmermann won't leave just for dollars, I don't think. He'd hate life in New york and probably LA. But he wants to get paid and teams in Chicago, Milwaukee, Detroit, etc., are in his neck of the (cold) woods. You can't fault a guy for that.

If Desmond is really thinking "Yankees, Yankees, I'm the next Jeter" in the back of his mind, and all his Love D.C. talk is cover, then he is one amazing actor. I don't buy that. I think he's sincere about his ties to the franchise back to Montreal days. But, right now, he's at the absolute top of his Hot Stock value. Which makes common ground, that is also sensible, hard to find.

Maybe a bit harsh, but isn't that where we are? I am pessimistic. I am sure it is possible to improve in reading defenses, but I can't think of a QB who was outright bad at reading defenses coming into the league and later became passable to good. Any examples?

As I always say, and believe, "Everything changes everything."

Griffin's knee injury changed his speed.

His war with Shanahan hurt his image, maybe his self-image and certainly his confidence. So this year was about: What can he do after an off-season for more knee rehab while playing for a coach who doesn't dislike/resist him and with better receivers?


The answer so far? He got hurt again, immediately. He takes a ton of huge hits. He doesn't just take sacks, he sometimes creates them himself. When he runs, his body looks like it is moving in three directions at once. In '12, it made you say, "Wow, what a flexible unique athlete." In '14, you say, "He looks injury prone." He never looked rattled or unsure in '12. He looks rattled and unsure half the time now. He seldom threw wildly inaccurate passes in '12. He threw a ball six feet over a receiver, and another six feet short of a receiver on Sunday on passes to his right that weren't especially long. He's confused, obviously, by some very basic football stuff. Come on, you have to know that there's a fullback lineup directly behind you!


Sports magnetizes us because the range of outcomes is so amazing and unpredictable. Including amazingly sad. In the '12 draft, there isn't a single team in the NFL that would have said that there was an iota of doubt about taking Griffin with the second overall pick. After Luck was gone, if anybody had said, "The next pick should not be Griffin," that person or team would have been laughed out off the league. And the '12 season even made the 1-1-1-2 price seem sane.




We're in that place to which sports delivers us constantly where we can only say, "WHAT the...?" Latest example: the Kansas City Royals are in Game 7 of the World Series but a (healthy) Robert Griffin III may not be a starting-quality NFL quarterback.


But, remember, sports can also reverse field on you again. Remember Randall Cunningham? He was good (63-43-1 in 11 yrs in Philly) but seldom good enough to satisfy Eagle fans. At 35, "washed up," in Minnesota he won 13 of 14 starts, led the NFL in QB rating, had a 34-10 TD-Int ratio and had mastered most of the skills that many thought he'd never develop.


He's not a Griffin comp. But it shows how The Last Act can be much later, and much different, than anyone expected. Athlete talent and will power die hard. Griffin certainly seems to have both. And he can take a punch -- of any kind.

Tom - Just read the tiny print in the "Transactions" section on D6 of WP where the Nat's promoted & hired numerous personnel to their scouting Dept. to expand their scope to more geographic areas. How great is this to invest in the Long Term Core of any Sports Franchise, plus no salary cap for hiring scouts. The Nat's really seem to get it! So where can the 'Skins find the Mike Rizzo of football - is he/she even around and, if so, would ever consider working for Snyder? BTW -how close was the Lerner family to owning our football team back in the 90's? What if....


You can never get enough scouts (or rebounds).

I once was in the DeMatha locker room at halftime when future NBA Hall of Famer and scoring champion Adrian Dantley was their star. The Stags trailed. The great coach Morgan Wootten took out the stat sheet and read Dantley's rebound total at halftime. "Dantley -- One," he said and paused. "Gentleman, let me tell you something about basketball. There are bad shots. And there are bad passes. BUT THERE ARE NO BAD REBOUNDS."


A  Rizzo (type) would never work for a Snyder.

I don't think I've ever heard Rizzo mention the local NFL team, even in passing. I'm not sure he knows they exist. (But I sometimes wonder if he knows the name of every player in the minor leagues.)

Are they rebuilding, or just making improvements around the edges? What do you make of their rumored push to get rid of Upton?

They are rebuilding. New GM. Starting rotation a shambles after injuries last year and Ervin Santana and Harang now free agents. Shelby Miller just fills one hole. It's assumed Justin Upton (a free agent after '15) will be traded -- as part of the rebuild -- but that his brother B.J. has a contract so toxic that he can't be traded.

Just THREE months ago, the question was, "Can the Nationals, with their 2 1/2-game lead, stand up to the Braves in the N.L. East."

The Nats finished 17 games ahead. The Braves were under .500 (79-83) and are now being dismantled and reassembled -- but not for '15 when they will be no factor.


Things change.

Am I the only one that is sick of all of the penalties that are being called? I realize that the NFL wants to promote offense, but in the context of an ultra violent sport a lot of these defensive holding/pass interference calls just go too far. It just seems like the NFL has put its thumb on the scale so much in favor of the receivers that it is fundamentally unfair. And I'm not talking about cases where the DB is trying to take the receivers head off. I'm thinking about cases where two guys are running full speed and there is mild contact between their hands or arms or similar stuff. The penalties slow the game down and reduce the excitement.

The NFL has serious problems, short and long term, at all levels.

It's still an exciting game. Watching Tom Brady pick the Lions apart yesterday at 1 p.m. was fun and watching Romo move around in the pocket for half-an-hour for the key completions on the Cowboys final drive at 11 p.m. was just elegant.

But the quality of the game is suffering from the touch-football rules and the touch football formations that succeed even better than they ordinarily would because of those new rules. 

Tom, why, when the 'Skins were this bad in the Sonny, Jerry, Bobby, Charley era, was there not this drama? We supported them whole hog (no pun intended since the hogs came later), there was a REAL waiting list for DC Stadium (then RFK) and no one was screaming for the owner's head. What's different now?

Everybody screams about everything 24/7 now.

Hadn't you noticed? You have to decide which noise to turn off, then turn it off completely. (JMO)

(How's that for an attention-grabbing headline?) While we continue to debate Robert Griffin's mindset and willingness to work and level of shell shock and relationship with his teammates and his relationship with his coach, maybe we should simplify this: he lost his fastball. Frank Tanana, as you'll remember, Boz, was a hard-throwing lefty who teamed with Nolan Ryan to give the Angels a great starting pitching duo. Except Tanana blew out his arm and, in the days before Tommy John, came back without the heater. It took a while but he figured out to get by as a junk ball pitcher. He ended up pitching until he was 40, I think. But not every guy who lost his fastball could convert into another style of pitcher. When they lost the fastball, they lost their career. To me, that's really the choice facing Griffin. And so far, he doesn't look like Frank Tanana.

Nice points.

The "extra gear" was a big part of Griffin, like the difference between 97 and 91 mph.

BTW, if you are the last person on earth who hasn't seen Beckham's impossible three-finger TD catch, here it is.

As Chris Collinsworth said (paraphrase), "We should call him...who was that old-time guy...Mordecai (Three Finger) Beckham."

HOF ballot is officially out

It's going to be a jammed up, but great year for voters.


Thanks for all your great questions and see you next Monday at 11 a.m..

I've been very impressed with how the Wizards have started the season, particularly missing Beal the first nine games. Although the schedule has been forgiving, can you completely discount the decisive win over the Cavs? The team's depth seems the best in years.

The Wiz are at least 10 deep. And it's not just veterans who won't be around for very many years. In his second season, Otto Porter looks much better and more comfortable, though he'll presumably always be slender. But his player efficiency rating (PER) is very good in the minutes he's gotten.

BTW, the new NBA stats now available at are absolutely wonderful and vast with more good ones every year.

I always wondered when the NBA would start to catch up with MLB in understanding that they had a large enough base of statistical data to really help understand the game. Which players were evaluated incorrectly because they "looked" better or worse than they really were? Or because popular stats -- like points -- were looked at too much?

We're there. It's a gold mine. Hope I don't get lost down one of its mine shafts.

Boz - we are more than half way through the Werth contract, and I think it is a fair point to ask whether it has been worth it. His performance has been roughly equal to the pay so far, but he is about to enter into the phase that most would consider at highest risk of 'under performing', meaning he'll need to average at least 3 WAR from here, no sure thing for an aging player. I'd guess we would have hoped to have built up a surplus at this stage? But really, since part of the reason for bringing Werth in was leadership (change the culture of the club, lead them into and deep in the playoffs, etc), the conclusion maybe hinges on this: Has he been critical to taking the step forward into a winning/playoff level team, or has there been a failure for not being able to win a series while having the best record in the league both years? Where do you come out?

Werth changed the culture more than any one Nat during '11-'14. Just in stats, he's been "worth it" so far. But I'd say that the signing has been justified completely. The team got to 80-81 immediately. Other free agents came. Did they "follow him?" Well, it didn't hurt. The Nats always said they paid an extra year -- iow, maybe $20M extra -- because they had to break the FA logjam, change perception, etc.

The verdict is in, imo. It worked. After leading MLB in wins in '12 and leading the N.L. in wins in '14, the Nats franchise will never be viewed the same. Or not for a long time. They want, and need to, get over the hump in October, but they are universally viewed as a well-run winning team. Anything which was key to that transformation must be viewed as a success, imo. Werth was. So he is.

I checked out of the Redskins season after last weeks loss and moved my attention to the surprising Terps. While they are not world beaters, and noone expected them to be, they have actually had a very good season in their inargural year in the Big Ten. How surprised are you with this years results?

It's fun. "Maryland beats Michigan (in football!!)" is a headline you can't read too often. OK, even if Michigan is a game under .500 this year. Congrats.

Tom, may I give a proud shout out to the Mount Saint Mary's Women's Rugby team, who won the Region 3 championship and just played in the NSCRO (National Small College Rugby Organization) national championship tournament. Although they lost their semifinal game and then the consolation game, it was their first national tournament and they are very proud of their team. There are 80 women's teams in the NSCRO, so I think that they had an outstanding season. They were undefeated before nationals.

OK, shout out, indeed.

As DC sports fans, we have a couple young stars, Anthony Rendon and Bradley Beal, that just seem to get it...great players, wise beyond their years, humble, and so likable (Seriously, what are the odds that someone will ever type this sentence at the Washington Post: Anthony Rendon went on his Facebook account to let all of his followers know he did not intend to throw his teammates under the bus with his post game comments). We have three more, John Wall, Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg who came into their leagues with a ton of hype as No. 1 picks, who have had success and made some mistakes/struggled with the media, but appear to listen to coaches and veterans. They seem to have learned from experiences, and appear to be on a great path. Griffin however, seems incapable of learning/changing at this point in his career. He seems to be all about attention and PR, which is ironic seeing how he is incapable of getting through a press conference without setting the internet on fire. He is also obviously struggling mightily with a VERY BASIC version of an NFL offense in a town where QB's are routinely eaten alive. Do you think he can ever be successful in this town? If not, what in the world do Allen/Snyder do now?

Good overview.

However, I would like to say one thing. My impression is still that Robert Griffin III is an outstanding young man. Just my opinion. But that IS my opinion. He's had his head spun around about 10 times in his first three years in the NFL. There are bad people in sports and good people and a zillion in between. I'll be very surprised if Griffin isn't basically in the "good people" category. Did he buy into his own talent and notoriety? Probably. But not to a degree that has ever bothered me very much. Will he be in the Good NFL QB category? I don't know at this point. It's an entirely different question.

If you are his coach, maybe the "QB" question is bigger. But I bet the people who know him best think that the "good person" question is more fundamental and that it has already been answered.

Maybe the first rule (and the first shock) after you become a sports journalist is to remember that those you cover really are "just people" -- every last one of them. As athletes, they deserve analysis and, when appropriate, criticism. As people, they deserve basic respect and your best effort to understand them individuals.

"Public people" are sometimes treated as objects, kicked around, disparaged when their best efforts fail, and they are expected to accept it or at least live with it. ("And look what they get paid. I'll kick this (person) as much as I feel like kickin' 'em. I bought tickets.") However, I would note that this is a very low, minimal standard and that many fans, like many of the chatters here, probably aim quite a bit higher.

Occasionally I start thinking the delay between posts on this chat have seemed a little too long, but then I just read your response about JZimm's contract and realized, it took time to put that response together, whether from your own real-time research, or your producer's or both of you. I have to say the waits are really worth the response, and I was being too selfish and impatient. Thank's for the great chats. Happy Thanksgiving!

Yes, it takes longer if you think. I appreciate your patience.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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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