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ES Game Coverage - The other guy


Henry

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This week I have the unenviable task of writing a fan-view column opposite Mark Steven. I feel like the guy in Major League who sat next to Bob Ucher and hyperventilated into a paper bag during games, occasionally stopping just long enough to offer a 'yeah' in response to another brilliant, yet witty piece of analysis. In any event, let me remove the proverbial paper bag for a moment and say my piece:

Mark and I got to the stadium fairly easily, which was in stark contrast to the traffic a few months ago when we faced the Titans. Of course, back then we were only 2-3 and still had a shot at doing something this year. Now we're just spoilers. The light traffic getting to the game really drove that point home (no pun intended.)

Anyway, we got to the stadium, jumped through the media hoops and found our seats in the press box fairly easily as well (Ok, we ran into one small glitch when we got to the press box. The names on the seating chart said Art Mills and Brian Murphy. Quickly I told Mark I got to be Brian. I know he was a little ticked about that, but seeing as I called it first there was nothing he could do, so he put on a good face like a trooper.) And since things were going so smoothly we thought we'd stop by the Extremeskins tailgate for a bit before hitting the pre-game sidelines. Besides, Huly told us in no uncertain terms that if we didn't show up, we'd be shunned and thought of badly for many, many weeks. So, as duly appointed representative of Extremeskins, we set out to drop down from on high to the unwashed ES masses and grace them with our presence and unfailing wisdom.

Predictably, we got lost.

I think we wandered by the place twice before we recognized Blondie, having a lively discussion with none other than Chief Z. Huly's Sexy Friend intercepted us and started introducing us around. HOF44, Mr. S, Pez, Halter and a host of others were there, doing Redskin tailgaters everywhere justice. I have to give special mention to Sweet Sassy Molassy, who did a fine job destroying the Eagle Helmet pinata. I gotta say guy, that looked like it really hurt. Further I will not say (as Mark says, what happens in tailgate stays in tailgate) but I can say that I got to meet Cheif Z. Now, over the course of this bizarre journey with Extremeskins I've sat in on three Joe Gibbs press conferences. I've talked to numerous players, sat in the box with all manner of really smart and savvy media types. But meeting the Chief has been the biggest thrill for me yet. (Warning: I'm gonna go Zen here for a moment) Owners, coaches, players ... Washington Post beat reporters ... they come and go. But we fans remain. And Chief Z is the Redskin fans. He's all of us, really. I've watched the man do battle with Cowboys and Giants and Eagles for twenty years now. And to shake the man's hand, well, it was pretty awesome. Pretty funny guy too.

After tailgating a bit we headed back to the stadium, and then to the sidelines. Now, this is the third game I've covered, but I still haven't quite gotten used to saying to my compadre "let's just go head to the sidelines and hang out" like we, you know, CAN or something. Once you have those press/field passes, you just saunter on out there like you're going to your backyard to check the coals or something. No biggie. Just heading to the field. No one even blinks at you. And that guy walking in front of you, oh, that's Philip Daniels. Oh, and there's Chris Cooley. ("Have a good game, Cooley!" "Sure thing")

And Daniels ... man that guy is big. After he turned off into the locker room I looked at Mark and said "I can't imagine trying to stop that man from doing anything he wants to do." And that's how it is down there, on the sidelines. The players are just so huge ... such perfect physical specimens. The cheerleaders are just fabulously hot. It really is a display of human perfection, and I'm standing there amongst it. It's like I'm some sort of alien visitor, allowed for a brief moment to dwell amongst these amazing creatures, if only to get a small glimpse into their world.

And let me tell you, I wouldn't survive long in that world. The size and speed of these guys is hard to describe. Mark commented during pre-game warm-ups just how unbelievable it was that a guy like Santana Moss could make it through a game without breaking about five bones. I'd be running a 4.2 if those guys were chasing me too.

At this point I'm going to have to apologize for the photos. Seeing as Mark and I are rank amateurs, the only camera we had between us was ... well ...

... my mom's two-year old digital.

So the pictures, what pictures there are, just aren't that great. We hung out on the sidelines for the pre-game festivities (those flash-pots are LOUD) but then went up to the press box and pretty much stayed there for the rest of the game. It was a little embarrassing, the two of us walking around, and Mark going "take a shot of that" and then me lifting my little Kodak Mega-Digi 400 (or whatever it's called) like a tourist. Anyway, the pics will be up in a bit.

The game was, well, a loss, which is never all that fun. I could go over the obligatory analysis (Rogers had a bad day, Campbell rallied admirably, penalties) but Mark did that, and better than I could, and you all actually did see the game. So I'll keep this part brief.

I think our offense could be really good next year. Seriously. Campbell, as Mark said, is real close. (Ok, I will talk about him for a moment. Bear with me) In a game of inches, he's inches off. But even during the game, you could see him getting better. You could see him stop staring down his primary receiver. You could see him start putting the ball where only the receiver could make a play on it. You could see him, even over the course of this one game, develop a better and better sense of pressure in the pocket. He's not a great quarterback right now, but what I'm seeing from him makes me hopeful for the future.

Suisham. Is that how you spell it? I know this is a small thing, but when was the last time we had a kicker go 4 for 4? And his kicks weren't the Novak-esque variety, just barely sailing inside the right upright. They were all right down the middle. In fact, special teams across the board was a real bright spot. Reminds me of the Turner days, when our rallying cry was "at least we have good special teams!" :doh:

Betts. Oh my. Oh my goodness. Oh my goodness gracious. I know Saunders has taken a ton of flak this season, and he's deserved a lot of it. But isn't it just a little bit interesting that Preist Holmes, an unspectacular journeyman veteran, suddenly looks all-world in Saunders' scheme, and Larry Johnson, mired in backup duty for two years and change, suddenly looks all-world, and now Betts, a career backup, suddenly looks all-world. Coincidence? I hope not. It's been said that Saunders need a year to get his offense fully into place, and now, at the end of that year we are seeing signs that it's starting to take off. Is it all that outrageous to think that will keep going into next year?

Sorry. That's too positive. I know. A loss is a loss is a loss.

I'm just saying.

Sitting next to us in the press box were a pair of philly beat writers for some paper or another. Rather humourless fellows (my attempt at snappy patter is documented in Mark's thread) but despite their attempts to remain professionally stoic, they couldn't help but ***** about their team. They couldn't stop the run. They don't run the ball enough. All the stuff we talk about. They notice it, make no mistake.

Bottom line is that the Eagles just aren't a very good team at this point. And competitive teams don't lose to struggling 6-6 teams at home, under any circumstances. We dropped another one. Style points don't matter. I gotta give Gibbs this much, in his press conference this week, he didn't say any different. He was as dissappointed with this loss as any others, even though were done as done and only playing for pride. It's clear pride is something worth playing for to Gibbs. Someone asked him if he was hoping to get to .500 and I was expecting some sort of genero-answer along the lines of "I think about this week and don't worry about the numbers" or something. He didn't say that. He said "Yeah I was. Getting to .500 mattered to me." (ok that was me paraphrasing.) That seemed to me like an unusual answer. Fact is, Gibbs does worry about this stuff. He does worry about this team's pride. This city's pride. Our pride. I'm not sure why that surprised me, but the man still cares about this thing a whole hell of a lot.

Hopefully that will count for something as we go forward.

Hail. :logo:

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Henry's only problem is that Henry is the humblest man I've ever met. Well ... that and that after 6 years he's still putting an "s" at the end of my name. :)

Good stuff brudda. And thanks for letting me rip off some of your best stuff yesterday.

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Henry's only problem is that Henry is the humblest man I've ever met. Well ... that and that after 6 years he's still putting an "s" at the end of my name. :)

Good stuff brudda. And thanks for letting me rip off some of your best stuff yesterday.

Someday, you'll learn how to spell your name properly. :)

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The names on the seating chart said Art Mills and Brian Murphy. Quickly I told Mark I got to be Brian. I know he was a little ticked about that, but seeing as I called it first there was nothing he could do, so he put on a good face like a trooper.

Surely you thought it was the name tag for the former ESPN.com Page 2 writer. Or maybe the NHL referee of the same name. Because there is zero chance you guys would have fought over that name tag if you knew they meant me. hehehe.

Glad you got to cover another game. Hopefully one of these times the team will win one for you and you'll get to experience interviewing the players when they're actually in a good mood. Trust me, it's much more fun for everyone ... well, except maybe Elfin.

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Surely you thought it was the name tag for the former ESPN.com Page 2 writer. Or maybe the NHL referee of the same name. Because there is zero chance you guys would have fought over that name tag if you knew they meant me. hehehe.

Well, to tell the truth, it was more like "You have to be Art" then "I get to be Brian" ... if you know what I mean. :)

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**focused on calling penalities against Redskins**

Oh dear Lord.....I'm new to the site, but is whining about the refs in multiple threads an every week tradition here?

Don't worry, that Mark Stevens is just a windbag who rambles nonsense.

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H., as I've said many times before, you should post more :)

I'm glad you and the eloquent one got out there - as Blade and I always said (and I mean every time) as we walked through the tunnel onto the field...'this **** never gets old!'. And it doesn't. As extremeskins.com goes forward, it'll be a damn shame if the team doesn't find ways to let the average fan experience what we've experienced. If I was running the show, there'd be at least 2 'fan passes' (accompanied by extremeskins staff of course) 'covering' every game. How cool would that be - 'Hey, winner of the best post gameweek gets to be on the field with us for the game'. I hope the team recognizes how cool the whole idea of a team/fansite partnership is...

Glad you guys had a great time, and I'm not sure your write-up isn't the best description in a year or more of what its truly like to be there in the flesh.

Nice job Henry :cheers:

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Betts. Oh my. Oh my goodness. Oh my goodness gracious.

Funny, every time I talk to him I say the exact same thing.

Only, I sometimes add a DANG after it. ;);)

I am soooo glad y'all stopped by.......I was having a very good time.....and the 2 of you just topped it off!!!

Blondie

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The names on the seating chart said Art Mills and Brian Murphy. Quickly I told Mark I got to be Brian. I know he was a little ticked about that, but seeing as I called it first there was nothing he could do, so he put on a good face like a trooper.

Don't worry. I was 'Eric' in Indy. Art was still Art. And that in its self is an art. :)

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I think our offense could be really good next year. Seriously. Campbell, as Mark said, is real close. (Ok, I will talk about him for a moment. Bear with me) In a game of inches, he's inches off. But even during the game, you could see him getting better. You could see him stop staring down his primary receiver. You could see him start putting the ball where only the receiver could make a play on it. You could see him, even over the course of this one game, develop a better and better sense of pressure in the pocket. He's not a great quarterback right now, but what I'm seeing from him makes me hopeful for the future.

Suisham. Is that how you spell it? I know this is a small thing, but when was the last time we had a kicker go 4 for 4? And his kicks weren't the Novak-esque variety, just barely sailing inside the right upright. They were all right down the middle. In fact, special teams across the board was a real bright spot. Reminds me of the Turner days, when our rallying cry was "at least we have good special teams!" :doh:

Betts. Oh my. Oh my goodness. Oh my goodness gracious. I know Saunders has taken a ton of flak this season, and he's deserved a lot of it. But isn't it just a little bit interesting that Preist Holmes, an unspectacular journeyman veteran, suddenly looks all-world in Saunders' scheme, and Larry Johnson, mired in backup duty for two years and change, suddenly looks all-world, and now Betts, a career backup, suddenly looks all-world. Coincidence? I hope not. It's been said that Saunders need a year to get his offense fully into place, and now, at the end of that year we are seeing signs that it's starting to take off. Is it all that outrageous to think that will keep going into next year?

Agreed, agreed, and agreed. We all heard about Saunders' offense and how long it takes to fall into place. We all knew that this year would be a year of adjustment for our O. Yet, there were fans calling for us to go undefeated and win the Super Bowl with force. Get real. Saunders' offense is proven, but it takes time to work. I am seeing the first stages of a young and dominant offense at work here and guess what? We have the last 3 games of the season to test things out before the offseason hits.

The offseason is starting to scare me as a Redskins fan. I hope to god that we don't go and try and revamp this offense again in the offseason. We need to keep Saunders' system in place, work with Jason Campbell and get Portis back to 100 percent. I've had enough of this "trade Portis" bs too. If we trade Portis, I'm driving up to DC and smacking Dan Snyder myself. Betts is great and I'm happy as hell we signed him to an extension, but Portis is still a superstar in my eyes and with the two of them plus our O-line, we have a damn good backfield in DC.

Now about that defense...

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