Unrealized Potential

Greetings from The Booth!

It’s starting to feel like Spring is settling in for the long haul, but you know what they say: if you don’t like the weather in Virginia, wait 5 minutes and you’ll get something else. Still, the mid-70’s temps feel good to my ever-aging joints and bones. On the SU scene, baseball stumbled a bit recently, but hopefully is back to it’s winning ways. Both lacrosse programs are having great seasons, and everyone else is at the very least, competitive. For a complete “State Of The Hornets” update, head to the podcast section and check out the latest Sports Dogs Podcast, where I’m joined by Shenandoah University’s Scott Musa.

By now you’ve heard about the tragic death this past weekend of NFL quarterback Dwayne Haskins. The former Washington QB was training with his current team, the Pittsburgh Steelers, and was killed while walking across a busy interstate. He was just shy of his 25th birthday.

For whatever reason, Haskins wasn’t the franchise quarterback that Washington had hoped he would be. The Ohio State product captured the eye of owner Dan Snyder, although several personnel people in the organization warned against taking someone with basically one year under his belt as the Buckeye’s starter. That one season in Columbus was a great one, though, as Haskins threw for well over 4-thousand yards and 50 touchdowns against Big Ten defenses, setting conference records in the process and leading his team to a 13-1 record and a spot in the Rose Bowl.

But sometimes you can achieve too much too soon. Those in the Washington organization cited Haskins’ lack of work ethic, undisciplined play, and lack of leadership as sources of frustration. One example is the time when Haskins was called on to close out a Washington victory, but was busy celebrating with fans in the stands. Haskins was eventually replaced by Taylor Heinicke and released by the club after less than two seasons.

Now is certainly not the time to pile on as several national pundits have done, but a time to grieve for the young man and his unrealized potential. By all accounts, Haskins was making good with his second chance in the NFL. His head coach in Pittsburgh, Mike Tomlin, said that Haskins was working hard, and with the retirement of Ben Roethlisberger, certainly had a chance at moving up from his third-string spot on the club. Hopefully, Haskins had realized that raw talent alone isn’t enough to succeed in the National Football League. It’s quite possible that Dwayne Haskins could have learned from his time in Washington, and become a star at the professional level.

Sadly, now we’ll never know.

Until the next visit from The Booth…GO HORNETS!

RW

 

 

 

VA. House advance a bill to help bring pro football to the state

According to Insidenova.com the Virginia House of Delegates voted 14 to 7 to help bring pro football to Virginia.

The bill advanced by the Virginia House of Delegates will allow the creation of a Virginia Football Stadium Authority.

The bill has to now pass the Senate and then be signed by the governor before becoming law.

The stadium authority group could be appointed by the governor to fast track and issue bonds for the construction of a professional football stadium in Virginia.

Sites being considered for a possible stadium are in Loudoun and or Prince William Counties.

A new stadium in Virginia could lure the Washington football team to the Commonwealth.

Washington’s current contract with the Landover Maryland site expires in 2027.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

Sports Dogs Podcast: NFL Championship Sunday

He’s Baaack! After his incredible prediction of the Bengals advancing last weekend, Scott “The Predictor” Bradley joins R-Dog to break down this Sunday’s NFL Conference Championship games. Plus some thoughts on Brady and Rodgers, and the WFT name change.

WFT Wrap Up

Greetings from The Booth!

This past Sunday, NFL fans witnessed a laughingstock more pitiful than the Washington Football Team. That would be the New York Giants, who fell to the WFT in the season finale 22-7. Remember the girls in school that used to hang around with “friends” who weren’t as pretty in order to feel good about themselves? I think we can use that analogy about Sunday’s game. Washington ran the ball for 225 yards against a Giants’ defense that obviously couldn’t wait for the clock to hit zero.

You should beat a team that runs 2 consecutive QB sneaks backed up against it’s own goal line, something Giants head coach (for now) Joe Judge tried to explain this week. I get the explanation, somewhat, but the optics are really bad when you show no confidence in players who are supposed to be NFL-caliber.

And there was Judge providing bulletin-board material for Washington mid-week with a not-so-veiled reference to the WFT as a clown show and to a nationally-televised fight between 2 Washington teammates during a rout by Dallas. We know the organization is a clown show, but it’s not good for someone to say it who is on the outside-looking in. If you remember the movie “Animal House,” it was Boone who said “he can’t say that about our pledges. Only we can say that about our pledges.” Give Washington credit for sticking together as family–albeit a dysfunctional one.

A feel-good win for the Football Team to be sure, but an empty one, as the WFT finishes up at 7-10 (interestingly enough the same record as last year–the difference being that in 2020, 7-9 was good enough to win the NFC East) and out of the playoffs. As we’ve become used to over the last 20-plus seasons under owner Dan Snyder, the 2021 season derailed almost as soon as it started, with players like Chase Young and Ryan Fitzpatrick lost for the year.

After a 2-6 start, the Football Team reeled off 4 straight wins and temporarily grabbed the final NFC Wild Card spot. Then came injuries and COVID, which decimated the team. A four-game skid followed, as the WFT was eliminated with one week to go.

Now, as the team moves forward, there are lots of issues to tackle during the offseason, but 2 big ones. The WFT will unveil a new team name on February 2nd. Make no mistake–the players need to be on board, whatever the new name is. Several of the players gave good reviews to the new uniforms, which will remain burgundy and gold. Deion Sanders once said something to the effect, “look good, feel good. Feel good, play good.” And I think there’s something to that. Hopefully, the organization will be able to cleanse it’s palate with new “unis” and a new name.

Then, there’s the quarterback issue. Washington simply must find it’s franchise quarterback, whether in the draft or through free agency. DeShaun Watson has been mentioned, but he has a lot of excess baggage. In any case, Taylor Heinicke played admirably this season, but will be better suited as a solid backup. Or at least a “bridge” next season, should the WFT go the draft route.

There are some pieces that Jason Wright and Ron Rivera can build a team around. Terry McLaurin is a Pro Bowl caliber receiver, and the aforementioned Young can be a defensive force. RB Antonio Gibson is one of the top backs in the league if he learns to take care of the football.

Groundhog Day is coming, and like Bill Murray from the movie of the same name, Washington has been living the same day (season) over and over again. Like Murray, it’s time they finally get it right.

Enjoy Super Wild Card Weekend, and until the next visit from The Booth…GO HORNETS!

RW

Rock Bottom

Greetings from The Booth!

Well, it’s what I call “Tweener Week,” the most useless week in the history of weeks. It’s that time between Christmas and New Year when almost everyone is suffering from Christmas letdown and doesn’t feel like doing a doggone thing. While some continue their Holiday break, some of us have to go back to work for a week of absolutely nothing. To get a hold of anyone you’re trying to do business with is impossible, and if you are lucky enough to reach someone, they just tell you, “let’s talk about it after the Holidays,” which is to say, “I’m in a coma right now.” Tweener Week should be a National Week Off. Who’s with me?

This week, I got an unexpected Christmas gift from the Washington Football Team. On Sunday night, that dreaded evening when post-Christmas Monday loomed large, the WFT allowed me to go to bed at a decent hour, as they were routed 56-14 by the Dallas Cowboys. For those of you who remember the so-called “Monday Night Massacre” when Michael Vick and the Eagles destroyed the then-Redskins 59-28 on MNF, this was the “Sunday Night Slaughter,” as the burgundy and gold JVs were totally embarrassed on national TV in every way possible.

The embarrassment starts from the top-down. Owner Dan Snyder has taken a once-proud franchise and turned it into the NFL’s laughing stock. Let us count the ways: bad draft choices, questionable coaching hires (Jim Zorn & Steve Spurrier come immediately to mind), a fantasy-football approach to trades (remember past-their-prime Deion Sanders and Bruce Smith?), suing fans over season-ticket cancellations, charging fans for training camp, and one of the worst game-day experiences in the NFL. Oh, and the cultivation of a toxic work environment that is, as we speak, being investigated by the league.

Then there’s the latest sideshow, as the Football Team saw the Philadelphia Eagles bring their own heated benches to Fed-Ex Field 2 weeks ago. In a sophomoric response, the WFT took it’s own HEATED benches to Dallas this past weekend–on a 70-degree night in Dallas. (Insert laughter here). Also heated was the nationally-broadcast altercation between Washington’s Daron Payne and Jonathan Allen as frustrations boiled over on the sideline.

In the past 20-plus years, the Washington organization has gone from a 3-time Super Bowl winner who filled it’s stadium week after week with it’s own fans, to a half-filled venue in God-forsaken Landover, Md. And most of those fans wear the opposing team jersey. For the few remaining Football Team fans, maybe it’s time to revive the Saints’ tradition of bags over the head. I know I’m the oscillating fan, but I think I’ve had enough. Yes, I’ll still probably watch the games, but with a detached interest, much like someone watches a car wreck. Which is what the WFT is.

For fans of the Washington Football Team, this is now Rock Bottom.

Happy New Year everyone, and until our next visit from The Booth…GO HORNETS!

RW