Ask Boswell: Redskins, Nationals and Washington sports

Dec 31, 2018

Washington Post Sports Columnist Tom Boswell answered your questions about the Redskins, Capitals, Nationals, Wizards, the NFL and more.

Past Ask Boswell chats

I'm not a Skins fan, but I live in the area (I'm a Broncos fan because my wife is from Denver and I have liked them since John Elway). Yesterday, at 4:00, just as the Skins game was starting, we drove to a nearby mall to see a movie. I noticed that the roads were busier than I expected, but parking at the Mall was worse than I have seen on Christmas Eve! I know it is anecdotal, but I can't imagine that the local TV ratings were very good, and I suspect many watching might even be Eagles fans. I really think people are beginning to not care about the local football team. Indifference is probably worse than anger. How far they have fallen ...

The calm tone of your question is perfect for the issue at hand, indifference.

Before this season, in my last August chat, I predicted that the Skins would go 7-9, as they did.

Of course, that is always the "chalk" pick since Snyder is now 139-180-1, in other words, just one tie game away from being 7-9 times 20 years!

What's doubly amazing is that he has done it with a gold mine franchise that allowed him to throw dumb money at smart players and coaches who took it, while laughing, all the way to the bank.

Before this year, I thought it would take another 3-to-5 years of Snyder's bad character, bad culture franchise to "lose" the title of DC's No. 1 team. That has changed. Now, I suspect it has already happened or will in the next two years as the Skin, who will probably have no true QB for the next couple of years, go 11-21 or 12-20 the next couple of years. It's been coming. But this season the process has sped up. A big part of me, who's lived around here my whole life, feels bad/sad about it.

But part of me also thinks, "It's about time."

My interest in the Skins has gradually diminished and, in the future, that will probably be reflected in some column choices, just as fans decide which games they will attend and which teams they will follow. 

If you want a stunning list, try this. Note that the other NFC East teams, the Giants, Cowboys, and Eagles, have 21 seasons with 11 wins in this period when the Skins have ZERO.

Yet every year, and again AFTER YESTERDAY'S GAME, the Skins have the gall to say that they think they "are CLOSE" to having a really good team. Not a decent team, but a really good one, you know, 10-11 or more wins...coming SOON. Gruden, Doug Williams, and several players all took that same company line. Hey, it was just the injuries. It was in big part the injuries. But it is always SOMETHING. Now, unless Alex Smith has a miraculous recovery, it'll be about QB (plus many other weaknesses, like WR, safety, etc.) 

Number of 11-win seasons in last 27 yrs in NFL

0. Wash

1. Cle, Det

2. Ari, Jets, Hou

3, Oak, TB, Cin

4. Buf, Chi, Mia, Sea

5. Bal, Jax, LAR, NYG

6. Atl, Min, Ten

7. Car, LAC, NO

8. Dal, KC, Phi

9. Den

10. SF

11. GB, Ind

 

13. Pitt

 

16. NE

Seriously. There's none if you're a fan of the Washington football team, is there? An owner who shows no sign of changing or learning or adapting, who's only in his mid-50's. A league financial structure that guarantees him profits every year no matter how ineptly he runs the team. A league talent structure that guarantees him just enough options to believe he can build a good team and in fact he'll come close enough to building a good team that when it doesn't happen, he can always blame it on the GM/coaches/players, etc. There is no end in sight, is there?

No, there is no end in sight.

There is no reason to have hope.

As Baltimore fans in MLB have seen, there comes a point when first-rate people stop wanting to touch your franchise. Once in a while, you get lucky, like the O's with Buck S. 

The Skins are now that team. You won't even be able to get the next Scot McCloughlan who wants the job because he has had so many problems and wants to show that he deserves another chance. 

Do we cut bait with Josh Norman?

That may be the only way to create enough cap space to afford an offensive play-maker, especially a >1,000 yard WR.

As that Titans offensive lineman informed Norman after the loss in Nashville, "you (and your bow and arrow pose) are no longer relevant."  

It seems to me that part of the greater problem with the Redskin’s organization is that no one at the top (read Snyder and Allen) will hold themselves responsible, much less accountable, for the team’s current situation. Is there any sense that Mr. Snyder realizes how poorly Bruce Allen has done his job, both in talent acquisition and building any sort of positive culture for the team?

The only "bubble" at Redskins Park isn't the inclement-weather facility. Snyder and Allen live in their own bubble of denial. They don't even want to make eye contact with anybody who will be candid with them. Snyder arrives with the dark-tinted-window limos that park in the bowels of FedEx. He materializes in his box and de-materializes.

On Sunday "GM" Doug Williams at least made an appearance in the post-defeat locker room. You don't think Allen would face the questions, do you? Doug is Mr. Nice Guy. And his answers, correctly, to tough questions, like whether the coach will be back, are deflected as "above my pay grade."

"We've got a good locker room, a good group. You have some pieces that need to be plugged in," said Williams. "But this season has not so much been "plugging in" as staying healthy.

"Some injuries (like broken legs) you just can't do anything about," said Williams. "I was talking to Coach Gibbs this week on the phone. It's tough to have a backup, especially back-to-back years. He was dumbfounded."

I tried not to groan. Another reporter mentioned the Skins being down to back-up guards. Doug corrected him, with a sad smile, saying, "The back-ups to the back-ups."

What did Gibbs think of an NFL reduced to a pair of third-string off-the-street guards?

"Joe said he thought it was 'unheard of,'" said Williams.

That's enough Skins for today. Let them nurses their injuries, physical, psychological and philosophical.

Here is Jerry Brewer's excellent column from this morning's paper.

Now, on to subjects more worthy of a "NEW" year.

Mike Rizzo is known for pulling off surprises and sometimes blockbusters this time of year. Do you think a surprise is coming and likely at what position?

I don't think he'll be able to pull it off, but there has been talk of Cleveland trading Trevor Bauer who had a 2.21 ERA and 222 K's last year. He has two years of team control with salaries that, after arbitration, will be about $10-to-$12M/yr.

Cleveland has made trades that lower their payroll some, so it's unlikely they NEED to trade Bauer. (Or Kluber, who's also mentioned.) They're now in the "blow us away with a great offer" category. Rizzo won't do that.

I think the big moves are the fairly obvious ones. Ian Kinsler, who'll be on the HOF ballot someday, just signed for $3.75M-a-year for two years. That is peanuts. Jonathan Schoop, young and just one slump-ridden year from 34 homers in Baltimore, got $7.5M for one year.

That means Brian Dozier and even Jed Lowrie may go for much lower prices than you'd expect, and fewer years. I bet you could get Dozier for something like $4M x 2 yrs, plus a $1M buyout in '21. If Carter Kieboom develops quickly, great, you can move Dozier to the Howie Kendrick role when Howie's contract runs out after '19. 

Players like Josh Harrison (2-time All-Star) and Marwin Gonzalez may have to settle for salaries similar to Kinzler.

In part, this is a glut of too many 2nd basemen on the free agent market. But the other half of the problem is that MLB is awash in decent to very good 2nd basemen right now and almost NOBODY NEEDS A SECOND BASEMAN. I added up all the "playable" second basemen, good enough or cheap enough, that you would have little or no interest in signing any other these free agents. I came up with about 25 names! There are only 30 teams! 

For the baseball nuts: Altuve, Zobrist, Merrifield (KC, led AL in hits and SB), Scooter Gennett, Cesar Hernandez, Wendle (TB), Marte (Ari), Starling Castro, Odor, J Baez, Kipnis, Ozzie Albies, Nunez (Bos), Dee Gordon (bad contract in Seattle), McNeil (.852 OPS for Mets in 282 ABs), Robbie Cano, Holt (also Bos), G Torres (.820 OPS with Yanks), Kinsler (now in SD), K Wong (Cards stuck with bad contract), Frazier (.798 OPS in Pitt), Goodrum (16 homers, Det), Y Moncada (CWS) and Joe Panik in SF.

So, where are the "homes" for LeMahieu, Lowrie, Astrubal Cabrera, Dozie and Marwin Gonzalez? And people bug me that Derek Dietrich (LF) is a semi-viable second baseman, too, even though you'd have to trade to get him from Miami.

For the Nats, the "splash" is to get Lowrie or Dozier cheaper than most expect, then rework Ryan Zimmerman's contract so that he won't be on the books in '19 at $18M against the luxury tax thresh hold. Give him a very FEW million more than the $20M total he's currently owed, then spread it out over '19-'20-'21. If you have to eat the out years, so what? You already owe him the $20M, that's gone. So, make it $24M total, maybe $7M-$7M-$7M plus $3M buyout for '21, to keep him under control for the future in case he has another '17 (36-198-.302) in him AND (more important) expand your room under the lux tax from the current ~$14M  to more like $25M!

What can you get for $25M? Lowrie (99 RBI) or Dozier, maybe Zach Britton, Cody Allen or David Robertson in the bullpen and lefty Wade Miley, too. Since Dozier would come cheap, that would increase your chances for the better reliever (Robertson) or SP (Miley).

I confess I'm fascinated by Dozier. He'll be 32. From ages 26-through-31, Dozier had a WAR of 20.4! That's an average of 3.4. A WAR of 2.0 is considered a decent "starter." And anything close to 5 is an All-Star. In MLB HISTORY, there have only been 20 second basemen with a higher WAR from age 26-through-31, and almost all of them are in the HOF or famous.

I looked at the top 30 in this category, with Dozier 21st. How good were they at 32-33? I took the bottom 15 from Jackie Robinson down to Bill Doran. Their average WAR for ages 32-and-33 combined is 5.4. That is very nice production (especially for a '17 Gold Glove winner). I threw out the two best players in that group, Robinson and Robby Alomar, and just looked at the other 13. THEY had an average WAR of 4.8 at 33 and 34 combined.

I'm tellin' ya, that Dozier probably has a couple of 25 homer, 75 RBI seasons left in him with plenty of range at 2nd. He's still stealing about 15 bases a year. Yes, Lowrie would be better (and more expensive), especially because he adds a switch-hitting bat to a lineup that will presumably lose a big lefty bat in Harper. (Marwin Gonzalez is a SH, too.) But ask your scouts and analytics people to look hard at Dozier who has an "A" rep in the clubhouse, too. Who cares if he hits righty if he produces like he has the last six years, 28 homers a year. Was '18 (.215) a "tell?" Maybe.

I just think there's a 2nd baseman out there to be stolen very cheap. Then, if Kendrick is healthy, he can go back to the utility role you planned for him to have in '18, put Lowrie/Gonzalez/Dozier at 2nd and then send Difo, who still has options to go back to AAA, to Syracuse to try to learn how to be better than a .650 OPS player.

I still think the Nats will make two significant adds. A lot of useful relievers, especially since you can't be certain that Trevor Rosenthal is all the way back to the kind of form that lets him be a top set-up man. Adam Ottavino (!), Justin Wilson or Tony Sipp as lefty-specialists, Brad Brach, Bud Norris. While everybody is waiting for Craig Kimbrel to come down to a four or five-year deal, not six, see if you can get one of these others.    

Hi Boz, happy New Years! If you could make 3 resolutions for the Nats, what would they be? My three: -get the Rendon extension done, whatever it takes -buy the Charlotte AAA team and solve the AAA debacle once and for all (overpay for a minority stake if that’s the best they can do) -get better at handling rain delays. Give fans more information, more quickly. Open conference areas so folks have a dry place to sit. Don't charge $8 for a lousy plastic poncho. Rain delays aren’t ever going to be fun but they can still suck a lot less.

Nice suggestions! Thanks.

Chelsea, when she's out in Iowa or New Hampshire covering Presidential primaries, will no doubt be delighted if the Nats handle rain delays better. However, with her rain-delay-bad-luck, the Nats will probably not have a single rain delay for all of next season. Chelsea used 'em all up. (But think of how much good stuff she wrote while everybody waited!)

(BTW, Chelsea wanted to catch Enny Romero's 100 mph fastball in spring training, bugged Nats to try. As a fast-pitch softball catcher in college, she was sure she could. I'd have bet on her. We've all seen her throw and she had a better arm than either guy on the right side of the Nats infield last year, Murphy or Zim.)   

I think I want the Bullets to trade Wall and turn the team over to Beal and Porter. Am I crazy? Is it even do-able?

Wall is utterly untradeable. And his insane contract REALLY gets bad starting next year.

My concern is that even if the Wiz tried to tank for the rest of '18-'19 to get a lottery pick, and that is certainly one logical approach to take to a lost season, I'm afraid that they'd have a hard time losing enough to pull it off. There are so many guys on that team who would love to show that when "everybody eats" they are pretty decent without John and his ball-hogging. With Beal, Satoransky, bumptious young 6-11 Bryant, Ariza, Porter (when healthy) and a couple of others, they might actually try to play team defense, too. They'd be sub-.500. But they might not be able to accomplish a Complete Tank even if they tried. Now THAT is bad luck.

Happy holidays, Boz. Even if it requires an overpay, the Nats basically HAVE to keep Rendon, don’t they? Even if partially for PR purposes? Big market baseball teams don’t lose their star player to free agency once, let alone twice in two years.

The level of the Harper-Machado market may give info about the Rendon market. Though, of course, they are now 26. Rendon will be 29 when he's a free agent. That knocks three "prime" years off what team's are bidding for.

After '17, when J.D. Martinez was a free agent at age 29, he had just had a monster season, 45 homers, 104 RBI. .303 and a 1.066 OPS. J.D. got $110M for five years. Of course, Martinez hit .330 with 130 RBI for the champion Red Sox last season!

I think Rendon is a bit better than Martinez, because of his excellent glove and good baserunning, although he's not a 40-plus HR hitter. I'd think that $110M for five years would be the BOTTOM of the range for Rendon and six years for $140M (the Corbin deal) would be more likely. Heck, it's not my money, make it $175M for seven years ($25M-a-year, same as Strasburg) and call it a day.

Even at THAT price, with some money presumably deferred to knock the present-day value down by $10M-or-so, you can see how much LESS risk there is in signing Rendon than going ABOVE $300M for 10 years with Harper. Yes, you get more prime years with Harper. But injuries are not just a function of age. The more years a team is locked into, the greater the risk of that one career-diminishing injury. 

Here what is so GOOD about the Rendon situation. The Corbin, Strasburg and Scherzer ($210M/7 years) deals give you a framework. Rendon is somewhere INSIDE those numbers. Max is a HOFer. Presumably, wonderful as he is, Anthony knows that, to date, he is not on track for a HOF career. He's so modest that he's even avoided making one All-Star team (an injustice). He's not a flamboyant drawing card, running up his price tag. And he likes DC, which LOVES him. 

At least, in theory, getting a fair Rendon deal done should be as easy (OK, it's never EASY) as getting a record-setting Harper deal always looked like it was going to be difficult.

Of course, the Nats have a Plan B. They always have one. But they certainly don't WANT to use it. Carter Kieboom and Luis Garcia are both SSs now. But Kieboom, who has power, could easily move to 3rd if (don't even say it) Rendon left, while Garcia, in two or three years, could go to 2d base with Turner at SS.

Anthony WATCHES. He's seen the career, and big contracts, of Zim, Desmond, Zimmermann, Max, Stras, Harper and now Corbin play out in front of his eyes. He should have a very good sense of the value of being in a place where you are appreciated on a team that is a contender. (Also, Renodn's hometown of Houston already has that guy Alex Bregman at 3rd base, so that's not a logical Rendon landing spot.) I was always optimistic that Zimmerman would stay in DC. I thought Desi and Z'mann would leave. I was wrong about Stras __pleasantly surprised when he stayed. I've always leaned toward thinking Bryce would leave and that looks like what will happen. As with Stras, I hope I'm wrong. I lean toward Anthony staying in D.C. But he is such a private person that I don't think anybody should pretend that they KNOW.     

As Harper's "market" seems to be slow to develop, with the Nats and Yanks saying they are "out" __I believe the Nats/MarkL, I never believe the Yanks, you keep hearing random speculation that Harper will look for a 2 or 3 year "pillow" contract at big dollars, then be a free agent again at 28 or 29. That's when you hear people saying the Nats could re-enter the Harper picture. I do NOT think that is what he or Boras want after waiting all these years to set a record with a LONG-term deal.

It is worth noting that the Dodgers trade of Puig opened up RF for Harper. But do the Dodgers really want THAT many LHed bats __Corey Seager, Bellinger, Muncy, Pederson and top prospect Alex Verdugo (OF) who has torched AAA the last two years, plus Harper, too? It really is NOT a natural fit. But, hey, you can always force a fit.  

Also, the Cubs have a jammed OF. To make room for Harp they'd probably have to eat half of Heyward's monster bad contract in a trade to make room for Harper. Again, not a natural fit.

The money and the desire for Bryce is with the Phils and White Sox. Does he want to go to the wrong side of Chicago? The rumors, or more likely the rumors about rumors, are that neither Machado nor Harper really love Philly very much as a destination. I know nothing about that. 

No need to start the New Year with Infinite Bryce talk. Lets move on. We'll know when we know. And, never forget, "it is what it is." Or as Buckeroo Banzai said, "Don't be mean. Remember, no matter where you go....there you are."

 

What steps, in your opinion, are necessary to turn the Redskins around and is that possible under the ownership of Dan Snyder?

The possibility of Snyder Transformation at some future date always reminds me of the ballplayer of whom it was said, "He's finally turned his life around. He used to be miserable and unhappy. Now he's unhappy and miserable." 

Oh, there was a football game yesterday? Who knew. Seriously, though, let's talk about something fun - how freakin' good is Ovie? Just look at the all-star captain selections - three guys at age 23 or younger, representing the "new" crop of NHLers, and meanwhile Ovie is still doing his thing and HAD to be picked for the captain for the Metro division at 33. Obviously this isn't totally comparable across different sports, but he really feels like he's doing better as he's getting older - not just a better two-way player, but a shot that still cannot physically be stopped. Part of that is the Cup burden being lifted, to be sure, but just how RARE is it to see people really hitting their stride in the back half of their careers?

Lots of great players extend their careers far longer than expected. But few, in any sport, actually get better as they get older.

What's impressed me about the Caps is how, with injuries bugging them all season, they keep winning with different people, and young players, chipping in at different times. Look at how excited they were the other night when Madison Bowey first career goal, after more than 1,000 minutes, ended up being the game winner.

The Caps, after their slow start, are up to 24-10-3. That's the 3rd best points percentage in the NHL. And the only three Caps teams that ever had better marks were the three President's Trophy winners __and their marks weren't THAT much higher __.720, .732 and .738.

Speaking of players improving with age, Tom Wilson is still only 24, but he's in his sixth full year in the NHL. In his first FOUR seasons, he only had 21 goals in 313 games. Then, last year, 14 goals in 78 games. This year __WHAT???__ 11 goals in just 18 games. He looks so much more relaxed and confident, especially when he shoots. He "enjoys" battling in the crease an getting deflections and rebound. And playing on top lines with stars has certainly brought his skills to the front.

The two most amazing improvements past age 35 that I am aware of in any sport __and I'd love it if somebody would give me names from other sports__ are Warren Spahn and Hank Aaron in baseball. Both were great and then got GREATER. 

Before age 35, Spahn had won 20 games six times, had a .596 W-L%, a 2.96 ERA and 1.194 WHIP.

From age 35 through 42, when he was one of my first baseball heroes, he won 20 games SEVEN more times, average 21 wins a year with a 2.96 ERA, 1.151 ERA, aned averaged 274 innings a year, leading the league in complete games six times. 

At 42, we went 23-7 with a 2.60 ERA and 22 complete games!~

Spahn apparently didn't master his screwball, which became his defining pitch, until later in his career. It just got better and better. It dove down and away like Strasburg's changeup __though, of course Spahnie was a lefty. He had the perfect pick-off move, so nobody could run on him. At the apex of his delivery you still couldn't tell if he was going to home plate or first base. He changed speeds on all his pitches. And his fastball was still just good enough to get "in" on hitter's hands. Earlier in his career, they say, he was faster and led the NL in strikeouts four times. 

Aaron's late career surge didn't last as long __from 35 through age 39. Hank started taking a few days off every year to save energy and he just got better as he got fresher. His career OPS was .928. But in those five years it was .997! His highest home run season came in that period __with 47.

It is this late surge, totally unexpected, that put him in position to break Babe Ruth's home run record. It is also a main treason that his greatest __and the HR record__ kind of surprised people. Including me, and I carried his baseball card around in my wallet for years as a kid. He was "underappreciated," at least in part, because nobody could possibly "projected" that he would do so well at such a late age. Excelling past 35 was even rarer back then than it is now because workout routines and healthy eating, etc., were not as much a part of sports.  

If Ovi cut down his minutes __just a little, year by year__ could he still remain amazingly productive at 35-to-39? Yes, the NHL is a far more physically demanding sport. But some HOFers have played into their 40's.

Lets let the Great Eight just keep right on amazing us and not be in a hurry to tell him what he CAN'T do.

if the DC, MD and VA governments refuse to give Dan S a sweetheart stadium deal, is there any chance he will move the franchise and DC gets another team? Can we get Jeff Bezos, who already owns the Post, to buy out Snyder? Perhaps if everyone in the DMV becomes an Amazon Prime member...

We can dream.

But, for now, and probably for several years, that's all it is.

The assumption now with some NFL writers is that DC would always want to bring the team back to DC at the RFK site.

After a few more years of 5-11 to 8-8, as well as all the other Snyder World nonsense, I'm not so sure.

 

you say there is no hope....and list all the things wrong with the Redskins....what is your suggestion for a solution?

I've been trying to provide those suggestions for the last 27 years on the theory that it is some sort of sportswriter duty. 

The hell with it. I have no suggestions. Let THEM get to work and show US some solutions.

My suggestion, at least to the general public, would be to stop watching them until they find those solutions, if they ever do.

By September I will probably relapse. But it's going to be quite a while before I give that franchise another thought. And THAT is a New Year's Resolution.

I'm a Redskins season ticket holder. I was debating on going to the Eagles game yesterday. I tried to give the tickets away, there were no takers. In the end, I gave the team a chance, and hoped they would give a gutty performance. What a waste of time. I don't blame the other season ticket holders who didn't go to the game, it was a sea of green. Not once did we sing hail to the Redskins, we had to listen to Fly Eagles Fly multiple times. Chants of E-A-G-L-E-S everywhere in the stadium, it was just a waste of time for me. I left after the 3rd quarter, I said goodbye to other long time season ticket holders in my area and said "see you next year!". The response I got was "I don't know, we'll see". Should I renew my tickets next year? Or should I just save my money for something more useful, like my kids' 529 plan? --- Indifferent Redskins Season Ticketholder from Baltimore

Thanks for the first-hand, in the stands info.

The whole game was a remarkable sight which I never expected to see,

 

Now that the season has mercifully ended, it appears possible that Mr. Allen may be moved to a non-football related position, preferably as a shuttlebus driver or something else important. Given that no outside football professional in his/her right mind would ever consider working for Dan Snyder, it looks like current professional Doug Williams May be the only general manager option. Does he have enough of a track record to assess how he would do in that position?

There are in-house options to take charge of such decisions. GOOD options? You'd kind of doubt it, right? If their ideas were so good, why haven't they impacted results so far?

However, I DO like your suggestion that Allen would make an excellent shuttle bus driver. Personable. Nice smile. "Suits up" well. Likes to shake hands and slap backs. Could tell old stories of glory days to kill time at red lights.

I don't know how many examples there are of people owning more than one of the 4 major North American sports, but does it seem odd to you that Ted Leonsis fires Caps GM George McPhee, which leads to a Stanley Cup, but refuses to fire Ernie Grunfeld, the nationally mocked GM of the hapless Wizards? Although McPhee made some bad moves, particularly a desperate McPhee getting robbed by the Predators giving up a has-been rental for Filip Forsberg, he did a more than respectable job drafting young talent and was certainly much more highly regarded than Grunfeld. McPhee took the Las Vegas Knights to the Stanley Cup in their first year. If Grunfeld ever leaves, nobody gives him a job, right? To paraphrase the age-old question: "Why is he [still] here?"

Very interesting point __and noted by plenty of others, too.

Isn't the Wall injury the perfect time to let somebody else handle the Next Stage?

McPhee, as I've mentioned here several times, is one of the genuinely impressive people in sports to talk to about his sport and the people in it. I was not at all surprised by his success in Las Vegas. And the Caps got another winner, and class act, in GM Brian MacLellan, who goes all the way back to Bowling Green days as a McPhee friend.

Ted can pick 'em in hockey. So, I don;'t see why he can't pick one in the NBA. It's certainly time.

I am NOT one of those "fire 'em" writers. I'm always aware that the top people in every sport __the smartest, or wisest, or most industrious or most organized__ tend to become the GMs (or team presidents) who actually RUN EVERYTHING. That job is generally the locus of greatest competence in any sport. Yet 50% of those generally exceptional people will have W-L records of .500 or below! I try to keep that in mind.

But it does seem like 15 years in a job is a fair test!!!

That's it for this YEAR! See you next Monday after Alabama beats Clemson, 44-38, for the college championship.

Enjoy that RAVENS home playoff game. Every time I see QB Lamar Jackson, who has averaged 17 carries for 78 yards a game in his last 7 starts, I wonder what RGIII could have been if Shanahan hadn't played him hurt and ended up ruining his knee and his blazing speed. Maybe no QB can survive such a duel burden. But, whatever else is said about his career, RGIII was abused at the end of '12. It was awful to watch.

Enough with bad memories. Lets move forward to creating some more new memories, and great ones, like June 7th, 2018 when Washington moved onto Stanley Cup Champions Time.!

Here's to a truly Happy New Year to all of you!  

 

FYI - Derek Dietrich was DFA'd so is available as FA . He, Kendrick and Difo would make decent left/right/glove platoon at 2nd and strengthen the bench.

Thanks for the info. Add him to the list. 

Not that any player in his right mind would ever want to play for Dan Snyder, but I notice that the Ravens were able to adjust their offense to the skill sets of Lamar Jackson on the fly, whereas the Redskins' excuse for signing Mark Sanchez over Colin Kaepernick was that Sanchez would fit more easily into the team's offensive playbook. I also notice that neither your column today nor Jerry Brewer's even mentioned Kaepernick's name. Is this yet another case of the Stockholm Syndrome at work, of not wanting to confront the obvious NFL blackball of a quarterback whose skill sets are manifestly superior to most of the other in-season quarterback signings by the Redskins and other NFL teams? You're right that we former Redskins fans have passed through the anger stage, but for some of us our current state is more than indifference. It's contempt----contempt for an owner and an organization who seems to share the values of our current president. And that's a stain that's going to be hard to remove.

Good points.

Just because the sun will rise in the West before this team gives Kaepernick a chance, we should still point out that he would be an obvious, and perhaps successful choice. Of course he's being blackballed. And Lamar Jackson's success simply underlines that this style can succeed in '18-'19.

Still think Baker Mayfield has no future? Does he get any credit in any of the 7 Cleveland wins? Or did they do it all in spite of him? And how long until Lamar Jackson gets blown up by someone 100 pounds bigger than him? Does John Harbaugh want to get him killed by having him run 100 times a game?

I was dead wrong about Baker Mayfield. Oh, brother, I compared him to Johnny Manziel in a chat. Always good for the soul to end the year on a note of contrition!

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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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