Wednesday, November 28, 2007

A New Word Emerges Courtesy of the Skins

Miserability. It's a new word I've devised to describe what it's like to be a Washington, D.C. sports fan.

Miserability, noun: the act of being a DC sports fan

What's absurd about all this is I came up with this new word after Sunday's demoralizing loss to the Bucs. This was even before Sean Taylor's tragic death. Think about it. The Skins have lost three straight, our best defensive player was shot and killed, Gilbert Arenas is out for three months, and even the Caps recently fired their head coach.

But let's turn to Sean Taylor first because it's obviously the biggest story in America right now. When I first heard Taylor got shot, I wasn't all that surprised given his stormy past. He had that big aggravated assault case a few years back where he apparently pistol whipped some fool who had stolen his ATV. And while the original charges were a little overboard, his plea bargain indicates there had to be some wrongdoing on his part.

And make no mistake about it, when you pistol whip someone, it implies something to me. Maybe this is controversial, but people who pistol whip others can only be described as thugs. Think about it, you have a gun in your hands but instead of shooting someone with it, you walk up and bitch slap them across the face with it. Only a thug has the balls to do that. You can condemn me for being so ridiculously negative about this guy, but the facts are facts. Pistol whipping is thug.

In no way did I think the guy was going to die from these gunshot wounds, though. It comes as a total shock. I was assuming his career might be over, but never in a million years did I think death was imminent. I think, though, in the immediate aftermath and shock of the whole ordeal, people are seriously overlooking the facts of the case. Someone broke into Taylor's house a little over a week ago, didn't steal anything of real value, and left a bloodied knife on his bed. And in the actual shooting, a "burglar" broke in through the bed room and shot Taylor twice, again leaving without stealing anything. In my opinion, there's clearly been some wrongdoing on Taylor's part in this whole situation.


This isn't some South American country like Venezuela or Argentina where athletes are threatened merely for having money. The person who shot Taylor had to have some legitimate beef with him, and judging from his past transgressions and shady past, Taylor had to have played a part. People don't break into a house twice and shoot somebody without stealing anything for no reason. The dude who did this had to be pissed off at Taylor. I'm really curious to see what comes out of this case over the next few months because I am not going to be surprised if details come out implicating Taylor in some sort of illegal activity.

For this reason, I've had a problem with this Sean Taylor lovefest going on, especially concerning his character. There's no details out yet, so how can we be jumping to such righteous conclusions. I think the NFL is going to regret having every team hold a moment of silence this weekend when everything is said and done. This wasn't a random act of violence. This was premeditated, and something in me says Taylor isn't the angel we are all making him out to be right now.

That being said, on-the-field Taylor is a huge, ginormous loss. He was our best defensive player, and there's no doubt about that if you've watched this team. Not only was Taylor the biggest hitter in the NFL according to Sports Illustrated, he was also good for at least two or three drops a game just because of his presence on the field. And this season, he and LaRon Landry had built a good rapport with Taylor playing the role of center field in the cover 2 and Landry taking care of the run stuffing and blitzing. Even after missing two games, Taylor was still tied for the lead in interceptions in the NFC.

Big Hit on the Cowboys.

In memory of the man who inspired the phrase "He can hit, you must acquit" during his aggravated assault case, I present you with Sean Taylor's greatest hits courtesy of YouTube.

Now, the Redskins can go in two very different directions because of this. They could either continue the spiral they've already started, having lost three straight and four of their last five, or this tragedy could unite them. Before his death, but after the six-turnover debacle on Sunday, I thought this team was doomed. I've never seen a team find new ways to loss every week, but the Redskins under the current Joe Gibbs regime have seemingly mastered this. But at 5-6, the Skins are still very much alive in the wide open NFC. That being said, the Skins have a game against the Bills this weekend, which I'm assuming they'll be an emotional wreck for. And to make matters worse, their next game is a short week, Thursday game against a suddenly-rejuvenated Bears team.

The eternal optimist in me says they run the table and become the talk of the league for dedicating a late-season run in the memory of Sean Taylor. The realist says 8-8 and maybe, just maybe squeeking into the playoffs.

Wizards Dilemma
Well, I got off my plane to come home for Thanksgiving last Wednesday, and the first call I get is from Graham letting me know my favorite player, Gilbert Arenas, was out for three months with another knee injury. Now, most of America probably think this is devastating to the Wiz's chances of being a playoff team in the newly-formidable Eastern Conference. But wouldn't you know, since Gil's injury, the Wiz are averaging more points a game than they were with him. The increased ball movement courtesy of a true point guard being in the lineup — Antonio Daniels — is the main reason for this.

But where Gil is missed is down the stretch in close games. In the fourth quarter, Gilbert could basically get to the free throw line at will with his ability to not just beat his defender, but also being quick enough to beat the help defender as well. In their home loss to the Warriors last week, Baron Davis was Golden State's Gilbert. He scored at will and the Wiz just couldn't keep up. Now, don't get me wrong, Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison aren't just good players, they are great. But in the 4th quarter, when teams ratchet up their defense, Tawn and Caron just can't get themselves enough quality scoring opportunities.

My only problem with Nick Young is that he's just like his buddy Gilbert and plays next to no defense.

As evidenced by their win over the Mavs the other night (btw te Mavs first home loss of the season) the Wiz are not decrepit without Gilbert. If this current lineup can keep the Wiz afloat (i.e staying at or around .500) while Gilbert is out, I think this injury will help in the long run. Nick Young has already emerged as a semi-valuable option on the offensive end due to increased playing time, and it's becoming more and more apparent just how good Caron is. For the record, he's been playing out of his mind the past couple of weeks.

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