Washington Redskins

NFC East

2017 Schedule

  • Week 1

    PHI @ WAS


    1:00 pm

PYRO Fantasy Depth Chart

The PYRO Fantasy Football Depth Chart is a rundown of where Team PYRO projects the fantasy production for each team at each position. It is NOT an attempt to inform you of the current starters for each team. For example, we are well aware that Brandon Manumaleuna is currently the starting TE for the Chicago Bears, but if you look at the Bears Team Page, we have Greg Olsen listed at TE. Why? We’re projecting that Greg Olsen will be the most Fantasy Football relevant TE for the Bears this season. Since Olsen will be the Bears leading FF point scorer at TE, it’s his name at the top of the TE column on our PYRO Fantasy Depth Chart.

Washington Redskins - 2014 Preseason #FF Preview

RGIII header for redskins 2014 season outlook piece





Last year nine teams had three or more fantasy starters in the top 60 and it is likely that it’ll continue to be that way in 2014. This series: Dressed for Success, will look at NFL teams going into 2014 that have assembled the right players to be a treasure trove of fantasy studs.

Last year’s Washington football team was a far cry from its 2012 version. Washington was tied for the second most generous team on defense compared to 2012 when the team was only 22nd. Similarly, Washington’s offense also fell off from being one of the league’s best in 2012, finishing fifth in scoring, to one of the league’s worse at 23rd in 2013. Part of the overall team stagnation was the increase in turnovers, from 14 in 2012 (8 interceptions versus 6 fumbles), to 34 turnovers in 2013 (19 interceptions, 15 fumbles) and the whole starting of Kirk Cousins with three games left. (Kirk Cousins threw 7 interceptions in 5 games).

A summary of the 2013 season in a gif

But the bright side of the story for Washington is that even with an absolutely abysmal season, the team still bottomed out as only the 9th worst scoring offense. Beating out a quarter of the league on a year where your head coach is mind warping everyone in the organization is a pretty good indicator of talent in my book. The fantasy relevant players of Washington were able to find individual success, with Pierre Garcon finishing at 13th, Alfred Morris finishing at 14th and RG3 finishing at 19th while missing the final three games. If RG3 had started those last three games of the fantasy season (which were against the generous Falcons, Cowboys, and Giants) and maintained his average, he would have broken into the top 15 at the QB position, which still isn’t phenomenal, but after the terrible season Washington had in 2013, 15 isn’t all that bad. Jordan Reed, playing 9 games as a rookie, finished 22nd in scoring amongst TEs, but averaged 7.7 a game, good for 11th on average.

RG3 in 2013 was clearly skittish and his explosive running was limited, culminating in one of the worst cases of a sophomore slump. But his stats were all a mirage because he was encumbered with the knee brace for the whole season. Despite being in a knee brace and only playing 13 games, RG3’s 484 rushing yards were only 37 yards less than a fully healthy Colin Kaepernick who played all 16 games and only 103 yards less than a fully healthy Cam Newton who played all 16 games. When healthy and without a knee brace, RG3 can lead the QB pack in rushing yards as he did in 2012. By his own declaration, that knee brace is gone. But the progression he can be expected to make in the passing game is going to make him much more valuable.

In RG3’s 2012 season, he threw 394 passing attempts and saw his attempts increase to 457 in 2013. That was an increase of about 11 more attempts a game, from 24 to 35. Andy Dalton, Gruden’s former QB, threw about 36 passes a game for 586 on the season, 1 more than RG3’s average in 2013. In fact, Dalton has always averaged at least 30 passing attempts a game since his rookie season.

I expect RG3 to be more acclimated to being a passer first after a season of being called on to throw more passes. While that might keep him from gaining valuable rushing yards, it’ll keep RG3 fresh throughout the season and hopefully lead to better passing totals.

Finally, another aspect of improvement in RG3’s passing game is his receivers. The three leading WRs last year for Washington were Pierre Garcon, Santana Moss, and Leonard Hankerson. Garcon’s total yardage at 1346 was nearly equivalent to the combined yardage of Moss, Hankerson, Aldrick Robinson, and Josh Morgan, which was 1406. 2013’s WR group was not exciting for RG3. But going into 2014, the signing of DeSean Jackson and Andre Roberts really makes the WR group more dynamic. While it may be hard to predict which WR will really do well, it’ll be certain that RG3’s passing numbers will make a giant leap upwards. With his running ability and a revamped offense around him, I’m confident that RG3 finishes the season in the top 5 in fantasy at the QB position.

What will happen when you pair the league’s 13th and 10th best receivers Pierre Garcon and Desean Jackson on the same team?

The first question is can an offense score enough to make both players fantasy relevant. In some unscientific addition consider the following: Chicago’s trio of Brandon Marshall (6th in scoring), Alshon Jeffery (9th in scoring) and Earl Bennet managed to score 444 point; Cincinnati under Jay Gruden in 2013, AJ Green (4th in scoring), Marvin Jones (21st in scoring) and Mohammed Sanu scored 405 points. The combined scoring of Garcon, Jackson, and odd-man out Andre Roberts in 2013 was 413 points. Individually, all the receivers could put up fantasy stats and it’s hard to believe in Gruden’s passing offense the receivers won’t be able to take advantage of the opportunity.

Considering that none of the running backs in Washington are well recognized pass catchers, there’s a strong chance that all the passes intended for running backs will be slotted over to WRs, further increasing the number of targets Garcon and Jackson will be getting.

I expect to see Garcon and Jackson both finishing in the top 15 at WR in 2014. RG3 and Jackson both thrive off the play action deep ball and the Redskins have a convincing running game. Jackson was second in the NFL with 25 catches of 20+ yards in 2013. You could discount 2013 as a fluke or big a part of Chip Kelly’s new offense, but I would attribute Jackson’s poor stats in previous years to Andy Reid’s conservative play calling.

Garcon likely won’t lead the league in targets again with the addition of Jackson. But Garcon should be able to increase his yards after catch, which he was already second in the league at for the WR position, with the decreased coverage he’ll be getting.

The sky’s the limit for both players, with ever the slightest edge going to Jackson because he gets to play his ex-teammates, the Eagles, at Fedex field for the fantasy playoff championships. You might as well collect your league prize early if you make it to the championships with Jackson. If you value consistency, Garcon is your man. If you want a fantasy explosion, win you two or three weeks a season guy, Jackson is your man.


One thing is certain, Garcon and Jackson will lead the league in excessive celebration penalties

Rookie Lache Seastrunk is unfortunately stranded as a hapless poor pass catcher on Jay Gruden’s passing team. Alfred Morris is just as much stuck in a poor situation, managing nine catches in 2013. Nine was such an abysmally low number of catches amongst fantasy backs that the next lowest number of catches amongst the top 20 backs was 16 and the average was 45. If Cincinnati’s 2013 stats are any indicator of how things will go under Jay Gruden, don’t expect much catching for Morris. BenJarvus Green-Ellis caught four passes on the season compared to Giovani Bernard’s 56.

Does this mean that we should all start drafting Roy Helu and abandon Morris’ 1991 Mazda 626? Fantasy owners would be remiss in leaving Morris off their draft board. While Morris may only catch a few passes a season, most of his undeniable value has been running the ball and with no worthwhile pass catcher to significantly take away snaps from him, I expect him to maintain a place in the top 15. No one should ever mistake Roy Helu for Giovani Bernard. While Morris will play against some of the best running defenses in NFC West, the rest of his match ups include porous running defenses in the AFC South and NFC East. Additionally, he hasn’t missed any game time in the past two seasons, so health hasn’t been an issue. Alfred Morris deserves to be a second round pick, but don’t put too much into the stories of Morris learning to catch more, because that stories been told before.

If he does become the cover of NFL Madden 15, I would cross him off the board immediately because the Madden curse is real! Although he certainly makes a compelling point.


The final player to talk about here is Jordan Reed. I like the potential here for Reed because of the lack of a quality pass catching RB in the Washington offense. While Jordan Reed’s combine performance doesn’t jump off the page, he gets enough separation in the middle of the field and can make a leaping catch. He can certainly be similar to former nfl player Aaron Hernandez in being an athletic TE. Let’s hope the similarities stop there; never mind that they are both from Connecticut and both played college football at Florida.

Despite having all these weapons on offense from the WRs to the RBs, I still wouldn’t be afraid to draft Reed. Similarly placed TEs such as Julius Thomas and Martellus Bennett both broke into the top 10 at the TE position in scoring. Not to mention the TE depth chart doesn’t leave a lot of competition behind Reed.

Given the depth at TE, anyone looking to draft Reed can easily wait until the 6th round or later to pick him up. As of right now I would only rank Vernon Davis, Jimmy Graham, Rob Gronkowski, and Julius Thomas in separate tiers over Reed. He has TE1 upside and has a pretty good chance on being a draft day steal.





Green Bay Packers - 2014 Preseason #FF Preview



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The Hogs & The Hoggettes

Joe Jacoby, George Starke, Russ Grimm, Mark May,and  Jeff Bostic  are not the most recognizable names in football history, that is unless you are a fan of the Washington Redskins because that group made up the “The Hogs” which dominated defenses in the 1980’s.  

The man who was responsible for naming the group the “Hogs” was offensive line coach Joe Bugel.  This nickname started with the fact that Joe Bugel had a bunch of guys that looked like they never missed a meal, and as the story goes, during a practice where he wanted them to switch to the blocking sleds he said “Okay, you Hogs, let’s get running down there.”  An innocent statement was all it was, but those guys totally embraced the nickname and wore it as a badge of honor. 

In their first two seasons together, 1982 and 1983, they missed a combined total of 1 game.  From their beginning in 1982 through 1991 the Hogs dominated with the Redskins going 107-45 during that span and helped take the Redskins to the Super Bowl 4 times (XVII, XVIII, XXII, XVI) winning 3 of them (all but XVIII) .  They opened huge holes for John Riggens (The Diesel), as well as giving Joe Theisman a most comfortable pocket to throw from in the early days, and helped make a one hit wonder out of Timmy Smith with 204 yards in Super Bowl XXII and Mark Rypien and the Posse possible.  It is not surprising that with winning teams there is a closeness with groups that must work as a cohesive unit, and the Hogs always ate together and went out together and most importantly had each other’s backs.  Joe Theisman had asked the group if he could become a member, and the large mass of Hogs said “No Quarterbacks”.  John Riggens also wanted to be a Hog and they did give him the title of “Honorary Hog”.  These Hogs also had their fans, none more faithful than the “Hoggettes”. 

On Halloween of 1983 Michael Torbert borrowed his grandmother’s polka dot dress to surprise her at her retirement homes “Tacky Tea Party”.  Before going to the party he dressed up at work and was an enormous hit at his office.  He showed up at the party using the name “Mikey T.” as his alter ego.  He was the party and made Granda MaMarge’s day.  Mikey T. then set out and recruited 12 big crazy family guys like him to wear drag to cheer up sick kids at Children’s hospitals as well as go out in public to encourage people to donate to help care for sick children.      

The group attended their first Redskins game on Novemeber 27th 1983.  During this game the Team put on dresses, wigs, white hats and, of course, their pig snouts and sat in an area that would be known as the Pig Pen.  They chose the name of the Hoggettes which was a combination of the Hogs and the Redskins cheerleaders the Redskinettes.  The Hoggettes were and have been a fixture at Redskins games.  The Hoggettes are always lending their help to support groups that help sick children.  To be a member of the Hoggettes you have to be committed to the whole program and volunteer a lot of their time.  The Hoggettes are not the prettiest cheerleaders in the world, but they have made a mark in Redskins history.  

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George Allen - Coach

George Allen was a winner.  When you think you of the Mount Rushmore of Coaches you will never hear the name George Allen, but maybe you should.  Allen was the guy you brought in when you program was in hell and you needed someone who could change a culture upon his arrival. 

The first chance at being a head coach for Allen was when he took the helm of the Los Angeles Rams he inherited a team that had 7 straight losing seasons and was 4-10 the year before.  He took a team with mostly the same talent he had the year before and turned that team into a winning team finishing 8-6.  The following year Allen led the Rams to an 11-1-2 record, won the NFL Coastal Division and was named the NFL Coach of the Year by a near unanimous vote.  Over the next three years with the Rams he totaled a record of 30-10-2 and lost to the Vikings in the Conference Championship game in 1969.  Allen was a hot commodity and the Redskins were in need of help after Vince Lombardi passed in 1970 after one season with the Redskins. 

The Redskins were a competitive team from the inception until 1945, when they fell on hard times and only had 4 winning seasons from 1946-1970 (including Lombardi’s 7-5 69’ team).  When Allen agreed to come to the Redskins it was clear he was in control.  Allen had full authority over all player personnel decisions.  With this control Allen reshaped the Redskins to look like winners.  Allen made several trades with the Rams, his former team, and brought 7 Rams players to Washington including their 3 starting linebackers (Maxie Baughan, Myron Pottios and Jack Pardee).  This caused the local media to give his team the nickname of the Redrams or the Ramskins, depending on who you asked.   

Allen was all about changing the culture and that was clear with all the trades he made.  He took the phrase “Future Is Now” and you needed to be ready to play for George Allen or he might just trade you, which is evidenced by the 131 total trades he made in 12 years, with 81 of those trades coming in his tenure in Washington.  One of the main reasons Allen made so many trades is that Allen wanted veteran players at all positions if possible.  Which is why it should be no surprise that Allen’s teams in Washingotn were also known as “The Over the Hill Gang”?  Allen quickly restored the Redskins to winning after 25 years of woe and in his first year posted a 9-4-1 record and the Redskins made the playoffs for the first time since 1945.  The highlight of Allen’s first season with the Redskins was a Monday Night victory in December against the Rams 38-24, which ended the playoff hopes of his former team. 

The following year Allen and the Redskins had an 11-3 record, then took out the Packers 16-3 in the Divisional round and then they won the NFC Championship over the Dallas Cowboys 26-3, only to lose Super Bowl VII to the unbeaten Miami Dolphins.  That would be the closest Allen would come as he never made it back to the Super Bowl.  In his tenure with the Redskins Allen made 5 playoff appearances, including 4 in a row from 1971-1974.  Allen was also known as a very enthusiastic coach.  His teams matched his enthusiasm and were known for their camaraderie and spirited play.  Allen was always leading the way with bringing the team together and was known to lead the chant after victories of “Three Cheers for the Redskins!!!  Hip Hip Hooray!!! Hip Hip Hooray!!! Hip Hip Hooray!!!”  The Redskins were known as a team that earned their success from hard work team play that would not always show in individual stats.  Allen also never had a losing season while in Washington and when he retired was 67-30-1 as the Redskins coach.    Allen was let go after not making the playoffs 2 of his last 3 years and did not coach again in the NFL.  He finished his NFL coaching career with a record of 116-47-5 (not one losing season), which was (.712) winning percentage and was only exceeded by John Madden (.731) and Vince Lombardi (.736) in NFL history. 

Allen is also rekindled the rivalry with the Dallas Cowboys.  Allen would taunt Cowboys players while wearing an Indian headdress.  Being in the same division and after the Cowboys had been having success Allen beat the Cowboys twice in 1972 including the NFC Championship game and were the first team other than the Cowboys to win the division since 1967.  The rivalry, as all rivalries, got a lot better and more interesting once Allen came to the Redskins and both teams were powerhouses. 

Allen was a winner above all else.  He was the coach who loved the game, loved to compete and loved being the leader of a group of men all striving to be champions.  Though he never won a championship, he did win the hearts of his players and will always have a place not only in Redskins history, but in the history of the NFL as well.  Allen was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2002.  

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Art Monk

Art Monk was one of the greatest wide receivers in the NFL during his 15 year career from 1980-1995.  Monk was one of the most consistent receivers of his era.  It becomes harder and harder to see the greatness when you look at the numbers that wide receivers are putting up in the league now, but this was an era where there was not the wide open passing game of today, and Monk was one of the best. 

In his rookie season Monk caught 58 passes (which was a rookie record for the Redskins) for 797 yards, which would be a good rookie season now, but back then this was quite the accomplishment and he was a unanimous selection for the All-Rookie team.    In his next three years he dealt with some injuries and was not able to take the next step until the 1984 season. 

Monk caught an NFL record 106 balls for his career best 1372 yards and added 7 TD’s.  During that season Monk had 8 or more receptions 6 times and had five 100 yard games, including a 10 catch 200 yard game against the 49ers.  Again, I need to point out that while compared against the numbers in today’s pass happy offenses these numbers don’t look special, but he was the first to do these things.  Monk was the first player to ever have 100 receptions in a season and he became the first player to ever have 900 receptions in his career and ended his career as the all-time receptions leader with 940, until Jerry Rice broke the record.

Monk was also a member of Washington’s famous Fun Bunch, not to mention part of one of the greatest wide receiver corps of all time as a member of the Posse with Gary Clark and Ricky Sanders.  Monk was finally elected to the Pro-Football Hall of fame in 2008. 

Monk was a model of consistency and remains the only player in NFL history to have at least 35 receptions in 15 straight years.  Monk also set a record for at least one TD reception in 15 straight seasons.  Monk also at one time held the record for most consecutive games with a reception at 183.  Monk had 888 receptions for the Redskins and the impressive point here is that about 2/3 of his receptions went for first downs.  Monk was simply one of the best and at the time of his retirement in 1995 he held the following records.

-First player to record a touchdown reception in 15 consecutive seasons.
-Consecutive seasons with at least 35 receptions (15)
-Consecutive seasons with at least 398 yards receiving (15)
-First player to record over 100+ receptions in the Super Bowl era
-First player to record back to back seasons with 1,200 yards and 90 receptions. 1984, 1985
-First NFL player to reach 820 receptions in a career.
-First NFL player to surpass 900 career receptions, finishing career with 940 (all-time record at the time).
-First player to record at least one reception in 180 consecutive games

Art Monk career stats


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The Posse (Monk, Sanders, Clark)

The “Posse” was the name given to the wide receiving corps of the Washington Redskins in the 1989 consisting of Art Monk, Gary Clark and Ricky Sanders.  Some claim that the Posse was inspired after the 1988 movie Young Guns, where their posse was led by Billy the Kid. 

In 1989 the Posse became the first trio of wide receivers in NFL history to post 1000 plus yards in the same season.  Gary Clark was the biggest play receiver that year with 79 receptions for 1229 yards with 15.6 yards per catch average.  Ricky Sanders had 80 receptions for 1138 yards good for 14.2 yards per catch.  It was also Sanders second straight 1000 plus yard season, but also his last.  Art Monk who was a mainstay with the Redskins for 14 years had a resurgent year in his career, after two seasons where he failed to reach 1000 yards, with 86 receptions for 1186 yards with 13.8 yards per catch. 

I just remember watching them play on Monday Night Football and watching them just torch defenses for huge plays.  Mark Rypien was the beneficiary of these wide receivers and they eventually won Super Bowl XXVI over the Buffalo Bills.  At their post championship visit to the White House Ricky Sanders caught another TD pass, this time from President Ronald Reagan.  The Posse will go down as one of the greatest receiving corps of all time and rightly so.  

By Houdini

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The Fun Bunch

Do you remember the Fun Bunch?  In 1982 the Fun Bunch was the group of wide receivers and tight ends from the Redskins that would get together and do a choreographed endzone routine.  The group consisted of wide receivers Art Monk, Virgil Seay (Papa Smurf), Charlie Brown and Alvin Garrett (Grandmaster Smurf), along with tight ends Rick Walker and Don Warren.  Garret and Seay were known as the Smurfs due to the fact neither was over 5’8” tall. 

It started after Art Monk was hurt in the last regular season game, and Monk was a huge part of their passing offense.  The other members of the Fun Bunch decided they would do this dance in the endzone after any of them caught a TD in their home playoff game against the Lions the next week.  Alvin Garrett caught the first TD, but he forgot to wait for the rest of the bunch.  The members told him to remember if he caught another, which he did, but he forgot again.  After another reminding the stars aligned as Garrett caught his 3rd TD of the game and then waited for the bunch that gathered in a circle and swung their arms back in forth in unison before all leaping into a high-five with the ball raised up.  After that it became an institution for the Skins when they scored a TD.

That lasted for a year until the NFL introduced a ban on “excessive celebration” in 1984.  The Fun Bunch was no more and the NFL became known as the No Fun League.  


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Charles Mann was a beast of all beasts

Charles Mann was a dominate defensive end for the Washington Redskins for 10 years after being drafted in the third round of the 1983 NFL Draft.  He became the starting defensive end opposite of Dexter Manley by his second year in the league.  Mann was part of a dominating defense that had talent at all levels.  Mann went to a Super Bowl in his rookie year (XVIII) which the Redskins lost to the Raiders.  This was just a start of a run of Super Bowl’s for Mann.

Mann, in just his third year had his career best sack total of 14.5 sacks.  Mann had double digit sacks 4 times in his career.  When he left the Redskins he had 82 sacks which was second most in franchise history.  Mann was a player that offenses had to game plan against.  He could turn the tide of a game all by himself.

Mann may best be remembered as a player that went to 4 Super Bowls in his career (XVII, XXII, XXVI and XXIX) winning all but the first one, in his rookie year.  The final year of Mann’s career he moved on to the San Francisco 49ers where he went to the Super Bowl and won it.  You have to think about the entirety of a career and to be in the Super Bowl as a rookie and lose and the finish your career with another Super Bowl and this time end your career with a win in the biggest game on the biggest stage.  Mann will always be remembered by the Redskins faithful.  

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Mark Moseley wins the MVP as a kicker in the strike shortened season

The Washington Redskins Mark Moseley, a kicker, won the NFL League MVP in 1982.  First of all yes, for those of you who are not as familiar with league history, beyond all reason Mark Moseley was the MVP in the strike shortened year of 1982.  This is the equivalent to a middle reliever winning the Cy Young.  Most football players don’t even consider kickers to be real football players, let alone League MVP’s.  Moseley remains the only kicker to win the award and that will be a record that will stand for the rest of the existence of the NFL.

Let’s start to explain this phenomenon by understanding that 1982 was not a normal football season.   There was labor unrest before the start of the season, but the season started none the less and lasted 2 weeks before the players went on strike.  The strike lasted for 8 weeks and then the season resumed playing a 9 game schedule. 

The best part about this story is that Moseley was not even supposed to be the kicker for the Redskins in 1982.  Coach Joe Gibbs was set on starting Dan Miller, a rookie the team drafted that year, until he imploded in the preseason and Moseley, who stuck around, ended up winning the job. 

During the nine game season the Redskins could not put the ball in the endzone, even with all likes of Joe Theisman, John Riggens and Art Monk.  They would drive and get close and end up having to settle for a field goal.  The place where Moseley may have made his best case for the MVP was in a game against the NY Giants on Dec 19th, 1982, when Moseley kicked his 21st consecutive field goal (a record at the time) and that kick gave the Redskins the win and clinched the team’s first playoff berth since 1976.  The Washington Post said it was “one of the most dramatic moments in Redskins history”, which really did not say a lot about the history of the Redskins, but that changed starting the next season when the Redskins became a Super Bowl force for a decade.   

Moseley had many games in which he was needed to bail out the team and give them a victory, which was more important in a season with only 9 games.  In the season opener he kicked  a 48 yard field goal to tie the game in the fourth quarter and a 26 yarder to win the game in overtime.  In a 12-7 victory over St. Louis Moseley scored all the points for the Redskins.  Then there was the playoff clinching kick against the Giants.  The Redskins finished 8-1 and Moseley played a huge part in most of their wins. 

The question still remains as to how he was voted the MVP over other position players, most notably Marcus Allen who was a rookie and led the league in rushing TD’s and yards from scrimmage on a team that also finished the season 8-1.  Then there was Chargers wide receiver Wes Chandler who had 1032 receiving yards and 9 TD’s in only 8 games.  How about Chargers quarterback Dan Fouts?  All Fouts did was average 320 yards passing per game.  All of these seem like more logical picks for the award but Moseley got it and here is how. 

Moseley was named MVP after a selection process which consisted of a national panel of 84 journalists picked him.  This is now a point we can make to rationalize this pick.  Moseley was not awarded MVP by players in the league it was by sportswriters.  In this crazy strike shortened year the fact that Moseley, an underdog at an unappreciated position, became a great story to write about.  He was winning games, broke the record for consecutive field goals made and was on a winning team.  Once he was nominated it was something of a whirlwind and the writers gave on to the red headed step child on the football team, the kicker. 

Moseley had said about it, “I think once I got nominated it was such an unusual thing that everybody voted for me. When they called me to tell me I had won it, I was shocked beyond words,” Moseley said.  You would think that he would have his MVP award proudly displayed at home, but as Moseley said, “I never got a trophy!  I never got anything for being MVP. I got a phone call. The only thing I have to show my kids and grandkids are the articles.”  

So Moseley does not have anything but a great story to tell, and it is a great story and a one of a kind in the NFL.  There have been kickers picked in the first round of the draft, like Sebastian Janikowski, but there will never be another kicker to win the NFL MVP award.  

By Houdini

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Hail the Redskins fight song

The story of the Washington Redskins fight song, Hail to the Redskins, is the most interesting fight song story in the NFL. 

It was 1937 when team owner George Preston Marshall moved the team to Washington DC from Boston.  Since the team was moving to the nation’s capital, Marshall commissioned a 110 piece band to give his new fans the pomp and circumstance and pageantry of a public victory parade upon their arrival.  Marshall was so into this, in fact, that he wanted his team to be seen in the vision of the Roman Gladiators at the Coliseum.  He spent $25,000 on uniforms and instruments for the band and asked Barnee Breeskin, the band leader, to “compose a fight song worthy of such a team of gladiators and warriors” Breeskin composed the music and Marshall’s wife, Connie, was the one who wrote the original lyrics.  Thus, as the team moved to city that Hailed to the Chief, the new song would be called “Hail to the Redskins” This fight song would be the second fight song in existence in the NFL after the Packers “Go!  You Packers! Go!”, written in 1931.

The original lyrics played up the Indian Warrior image of the team.  The original lyrics were never intended (hard to tell looking back now) to offend Native Americans, but they did.  The original lyrics were

Hail to the Redskins!

Hail Victory!

Braves on the Warpath!

Fight for old Dixie!

Run or pass and score -- we want a lot more!

Scalp 'em, swamp 'em -- We will take 'em big score

Read 'em, weep 'em, touchdown - we want heap more

Fight on, Fight on -- 'Till you have won

Sons of Wash-ing-ton. Rah!, Rah!, Rah!

The lyrics were eventually changed to the ones we know today.

Hail to the Redskins!
Hail Victory!
Braves on the Warpath!
Fight for old D.C.!
Run or pass and score -- we want a lot more!
Beat 'em, Swamp 'em,
Touchdown! -- Let the points soar!
Fight on, fight on 'Til you have won
Sons of Wash-ing-ton. Rah!, Rah!, Rah!

Hail to the Redskins!
Hail Victory!
Braves on the Warpath!
Fight for old D.C.!

Now here is the part about the song that is really interesting.  You may notice in the original lyrics they said “fight for old Dixie!” and this was because the Redskins were the team in the NFL closest to the Mason Dixon line and though they were not really part of the South, Marshall’s team was the team of the South and he played that up as well.  This really came to a head when the league was discussing expanding into Texas (Dallas), and Marshall felt threatened that he would lose his southern fan base, so when it came to a vote for Marshall was going to vote against the franchise in Dallas.  Dallas’ potential owner, Clint Murchison, then made a bold move and bought the rights to the song “Hail to the Redskins” from Breeskin, the composer who was disgruntled with Marshall over who owned the rights to the song, which Breeskin did.  Breeskin had told Murchison that he would give him the rights to the song to use as leverage against Marshall. 

Murchison now had the rights to the song as the vote on his expansion was at hand.  Murchison approached Marshall and told him that he would not allow Marshall to play the song at his games.  Marshall then reconsidered his stance on the new franchise being awarded to Murchison in Dallas.  This was the very beginning of the Dallas and Washington rivalry.  

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RFK Stadium

RFK Stadium (Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium) was built in 1960 and originally known as D.C. Stadium.  The stadium was renamed in 1969 to honor Robert F. Kennedy after his assassination on June 6th 1968.  When it was built it was a modern innovation of a stadium that would be able to host the Washington Redskins and the Washington Senators.   It was the home to the Senators until 1969, and was the home of the Redskins for 36 years.  While that is great, RFK Stadium holds the honor of leading us into one of the worst periods in stadiums and the fans experience. 

RFK Stadium was the very first “cookie cutter” or multi-purpose stadium ever built.  The reason was simple; they wanted to house both football and baseball and thus created these big donut shaped stadiums.  At this point I am using RFK to rant about these stadiums, the Redskins flourished while playing there but there was nothing else truly remarkable about this stadium except its legacy that killed many cites dreams. 

After RFK was built there began a trend to add these stadiums around the country, and they did.  Shea Stadium (1964) was the next followed by Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium (1965), Busch Stadium (1966), Riverfront Stadium (1970), Three Rivers Stadium (1970) and Veterans Stadium (1971).  The redeeming quality for RFK was that they kept natural grass.  Veterans Stadium on the other hand had Astroturf, which was basically placed over concrete and ended many players career way too early.  This was a sad period after all the great baseball parks like Ebbets Field and the Polo Grounds were leveled and we were left with giant concrete donuts. 

The good news is that with the St. Louis Cardinals moving into the new Busch Stadium, the last of the cookie cutters has left the NFL and MLB.  RFK stadium still is the home of the DC United but Fed Ex Field (until the next name change) is the current home of the Washington Redskins.  Thank you RFK for teaching us all a valuable lesson.     

By Houdini

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The other Clinton in D.C.

Certainly two-time Pro Bowler Clinton Portis has made jaws drop around the globe with his finesse as a running-back throughout his career. Yet, there was absolutely no 'CLLLLAAAAAAANNNNNK' from jaws dropping when Clinton Portis was released by the Washington Redskins. What was surprising, however, was the fact that after the 6-year separation that Coach Mike Shanahan had with Portis he bid him farewell again, and probably for the last time.

In Clinton Portis' seven seasons with the Redskins from 2004 to 2010 he started 83 games out of the 84 he played. Moreover, for the Washington Redskins' franchise history he earns the silver medal for career rushing yards with 6,824 standing just a bit lower on the podium than Redskins' career rush leader John Riggins (7,462 yards). Portis expressed gratitude for all Washington has done for him but he does have some reservations. He wishes he'd been able to pass Riggins, but due to injuries and circumstantial issues, he fell just 648 yards short - reminiscent of that shite baseball movie starring Bernie Mac (rest his soul, but never his soul power) Mr. 3000. The only difference here is that Portis may have to wish upon shooting star after shooting star for the chance to play for the Redskins again to go for the gold. Silver must be Clinton's color because he ranks second in franchise history for rushing attempts (with 1,667) and rushing touchdowns (with 46).

So where, oh where has Clinton Portis gone? And why, oh why is he gone? Well let's try to track his fame. From 2004 to 2008 Portis was the fountainhead of the Washington Redskins. Despite a partially dislocated shoulder from a week one, quarter one pre-season game on August 13, 2006 where he attempted to tackle Bengals cornerback Keiwan Ratliff after he picked off a ball, Portis was on top of the world. His brute force matched by his gracefulness to break tackles say all that needs to be said, but Clinton Portis is a man that needs to be heard and he created alter-egos in a pseudo-dissociative identity disorder way to do it. Clinton Portis: the man who brought us The Mad Scientist, Southeast Jerome, Dr. I Don't Know, Sheriff Gonna Getcha, Dolla Bill, also brings us Reverend Gonna Change, Kid Bro Sweets, Inspector 22, Angel of Southeast Jerome, and last but not least, Coach Janky Spanky. 2008, The Year of the Rat according to the Chinese Zodiac, was certainly not The Year of the Portis. Recurring injuries and taking his vocality a bit too far - he did not have such nice things to say about former coach Jim Zorn and former Redskins linebacker, LaVar Arrington - urged a number of fans to plead to force Portis to the nearest port and sail him out of town.

Sadly, after the 2008 season, Portis was not playing his A-game. While some believe it was his boisterous attitude that was interfering with his performance, it was really that he was a punching bag due to the fault of his offensive line's blocking. Portis was injured because of his will to play. A head-on collision in a game against the Atlanta Falcons on November 8, 2009 resulted in a concussion for the man. Though he said "I don't think for one second this could be career-ending," Portis struggled with vision problems and dizzy spells after the big bang. That hit was the turning point for Portis.

In a press release issued by the team upon his release after the 2010 season, Portis revealed his gratitude - "I would like to thank the organization," Portis said. "Dan [Snyder] and Mike [Shanahan] were honest, straight-up people with me. I always appreciated the opportunity from Dan to play here. Being a Redskin was a special part of my life. Coming and being in that organization, I turned from a kid having fun to a man carrying responsibilities. I tried to put the world on my shoulders for Coach Gibbs and the Redskins fans." Furthermore, a statement by team owner Daniel Snyder shows his appreciation for Portis - "Clinton provided excitement from the very first time he touched the ball as a Redskin and we were lucky to witness every ounce of energy, effort and passion he has given ever since," Redskins owner Daniel M. Snyder said. "We have been through a lot both on and off of the field and we would like to wish him and his family the very best. He will always be a Redskin and go down as one of the franchise's all-time greats." Obviously the player and the organization do not harbor any ill will against each other. Portis understands the game of football and the "Moneyball" behind it.

Portis should feel lucky that he is in as good of shape as he is now after being battered incessantly on the front lines. According to the NFL Players Association, the average career for an NFL player is 3.3 years. Note: that's the average player. The shortest careers are typically the NFL players that tend to hit and get hit the most - we're talking running backs here. Running backs have the shortest careers on average at 2.57 years. Though most running backs are out of the game just a little after their first two seasons, Portis finished two seasons with Denver and then went on to play seven with Washington. If that's not resilience than I don't know what is.

Though he may be off any roster for now, Portis is an optimistic free agent. In 2011 he did an interview on Sirius XM Radio and told hosts Brian McGovern and Maurice Jones-Drew sarcastically "To go to the Giants and get to play the Redskins twice a year after them feeling I wasn't capable anymore, I think that would be outstanding." Always the class clown, Portis is now in that boat where he may be a gamble to pick up, but if he stays healthy he has the capability to raise the threat levels of opposing teams.


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