Quick Links

Cowboyfan Employs Fuzzy Logic

Cowboyfan Employs Fuzzy Logic


You can reach Rich Tandler by email at WarpathInsiders@comcast.net

Cowboyfan is a strange animal.

Not that your average NFL fanatic is completely rational and sane, mind you. Every fan’s football worldview is taken in through lenses tinted in his favorite team’s colors. But Cowboyfan takes it a couple of steps further. He sees things through what must be silver and blue corneal implants. The colors are so intense that they actually serve as bliders.

For example, according to Cowboyfan, 9-7 Dallas was “really” 13-3 last year. That’s because if their field goal kicker hadn’t missed a kick all year they would have turned some wins into losses. Most kickers miss kicks, of course, but when you’re playing the hypothetical game that Cowboyfan does, the Dallas kicker is supposed to nail every one of them. Usually when someone talks about “woulda, shoulda, coulda” in the Lone Star State, some Texan will sarcastically say that if a frog had wings he wouldn’t whomp his ass every time he jumped. This retort isn’t used, however, when it comes to the Cowboys’ kicker. “If’s” and “but’s” are candy and nuts in Cowboyfan’s merry little fantasyland.

I think that the inflated, conjured-up win total also includes the Thanksgiving Day game that Denver won on an overtime field goal set up by a long run by Ron Dayne. The fact that Dayne made the run, according to Cowboyfan, made the event such a fluke occurrence that it just shouldn’t have counted. Of course Cowboyfan ignores the fact that solid tackling appeared so infrequently in the Dallas secondary that it would be considered a fluke if they had managed to bring Dayne down.

And then there is this illusion that Cowboyfan has that his team has more NFL titles than the Redskins do. They both have five and, the last time I checked, five and five are equal numbers. One five is not more than the other five. But, to Cowboyfan, nothing that happened before they started calling the NFL championship game the Super Bowl counts. Such news would come as a surprise not only to Andy Farkas, Turk Edwards, and Sammy Baugh, who led the Redskins to NFL titles in 1937 and 1942, but to, say, the participants in the 1958 NFL championship game. In the view of Cowboyfan, the overtime tilt between the Giants and Colts was the Greatest Game Never Played because it took place a couple of years prior to the birth of America’s team.

Cowboyfan also like to poke fun at the string of coaches that the Redskins have brought in recently. He conveniently forgets the likes of Chan Gailey and Dave Campo. He laughs out loud at the perceived incompetence of Dan Snyder as an owner while being totally ignorant of the fact that the Redskins have won more games than Jerry Jones’ Cowboys have since Snyder bought the team. Cowboyfan talks as though his team is an NFL powerhouse. Apparently they have an odd definition of “powerhouse”, one that does not include qualifications such as, you know, actually winning a playoff game. This season will mark the 10-yard anniversary of Dallas’ last postseason victory. There’s no word on if Jones is going to commemorate the occasion with a special jersey or a Circle-of-Fame type of ceremony (yes I know that the thing at Texas Stadium isn’t called that, but I do it just because it annoys Cowboyfan so much).

Just when you think that Cowboyfan can’t come up with anything more inane and illogical than what he as concocted out of thin air in the past, he tops himself. Cowboyfan’s new curiosity is some sort of “quality of loss” thing. Basically, Cowboyfan asserts that the Cowboys are demonstrably superior to the Redskins because his team’s opening day loss was somehow “better” than Washington’s. In doing so Cowboyfan’s argument flies in the face of what his own team’s coach has said, that “you are what your record says you are.” But logic certainly never got in the way of Cowboyfan making his point loudly if not very clearly.

Cowboyfan says that since the Jaguars were a playoff team last year and the game was in Jacksonville the Cowboys loss was superior to Washington’s loss, which was to a non-playoff Vikings team at home. To listen to Cowboyfan you’d think this was college and his team was barely edged at Ohio State while the Redskins got blown out by Duke at home.

Never mind that the Jaguars laid a 24-0 run on the Cowboys. Never mind that their quarterback absolutely stunk up the entire state of Florida with his putrid play (3 INT, 45.8 QB rating). Never mind that their legendary coach Parcells cost his team a timeout with by throwing a late challenge flag on an unchallengable play. Never mind that one kicker on their roster, the one that was active, banged a 36-yard field goal attempt off of the upright while the other one, the one that was supposed to be keep the frog from whomping his ass, was back at home in Dallas.

None of that matters to Cowboyfan. In his view, all of this was an impressive show of strength by his team. The Redskins, who played inconsistently while slugging it out for 60 minutes with a Vikings team that did have a winning record despite incredible turmoil last year, demonstrated beyond a shadow of a doubt that they are mere girly-men, another minor obstacle that Cowboyfan’s team will easily brush aside on their way to demonstrating their greatness.

Perhaps someone should explain to Cowboyfan that there are no BCS points being compiled here, no pollsters to impress. You can only lose to the team you’re playing. In the NFL a loss is a loss is a loss. One seven-point loss is not better than another three-point loss, especially not when all of the teams involved had winning records last year.

On second though, never mind. Those silver and blue eyeballs will never see the light.

Quick Links

Grading the Redskins' 2017 draft

Grading the Redskins' 2017 draft

Since we don’t know how the careers of the players picked by the Redskins yesterday will turn out we must dig in a little more to come up with a grade for the draft headed up by Bruce Allen. Here’s my assessment, feel free to leave yours in the comments.

Strategy—B

There really isn’t enough to love or to hate here. They didn’t do much wheeling and dealing while on the clock, making only a minor deal with the Vikings to move up two spots in the sixth round in exchange for moving down 10 slots in the seventh.

For the record, the trade (picks 201 and 220 from Washington to Minnesota in exchange for picks 199 and 230) was just about a wash on the Jimmy Johnson trade chart, with the Redskins giving up a statistically insignificant one point of value.

Whether center Chase Roullier, the player they traded up to draft, makes the team and has an impact or not is not going to make or break the draft but it should be noted that they gave up something of value to get him so it was a player they wanted to make sure they got as his name was still on the board.

The deals that got them up to 10 picks had already been made by Scot McCloughan on draft day last year as he added picks in the fourth, fifth, and sixth rounds with various trades.

Perhaps they deserve the most credit for a potential deal they did not make. As their first-round pick got closer and defensive lineman Jonathan Allen remained on the board it had to be tempting for them to spend a mid-round pick to jump up and grab him before anyone else could. But Gruden said that they had a number of players to choose from as the pick approached and they decided to stay put. The gamble paid off as Allen fell into their laps at pick No. 17.

Talent/fit/needs—A-

The Redskins needed to bolster their defense and they certainly gave it a go. Their first three picks were on defense as were four of their first five and six of 10 overall.

But the raw number of the picks doesn’t really tell the story; it’s the value of the picks that really matters. According to that Jimmy Johnson pick value chart, they spend 1,596 points on defense and 126 points on offense.

They hit on their biggest needs with their first two picks. They had not drafted a defensive lineman in the first round since 1997 and the neglect of the position was evident. In Allen they got a player with Pro Bowl potential in their biggest area of need.

Allen will help the pass rush from the inside and then in the second round they acquired some edge rushing ability with Ryan Anderson. It seems that this pick was strongly influenced by Scot McCloughan’s draft board. His height, weight, and combine numbers were not what a lot of teams are looking for in an edge rusher but his tough mentality and obvious love for the game are attributes that McCloughan valued.

Although Gruden expressed his confidence in Rob Kelley to be his running back it appeared to most outside observers that an upgrade was needed and they got that in Samaje Perine. You can’t have too many good corners and Bashaud Breeland is set to be a 2018 free agent so they took Fabian Moreau in the third round. They had no backup center Roullier could develop into that spot. Gruden said earlier this offseason that they needed a blocking tight end and that is what Jeremy Sprinkle is.

They didn’t hit on all their needs. With the top three inside linebackers set to be free agents next year many thought they would spend a top pick there. And although there were a few possible nose tackles on the board in the later rounds they bypassed that position. You can’t solve everything in one draft but the Redskins have now had eight drafts since converting to the 3-4 defense and they still haven’t found a solution at nose tackle.

As far as value goes, it doesn’t get much better than Allen, who was a consensus top-five talent who lasted until the 17th pick. Moreau may have been a first-round pick before tearing a pectoral muscle lifting weights during his pro day.

On the other end of the value scale, the fourth round seemed to be way too early to take safety Montae Nicholson. There is something to be said for taking a guy with good measurables who didn’t have good game tape and taking a shot at developing him. But the fourth round is too soon for taking such a chance.

Overall—B+

After their first two picks, they didn’t shy away from red flags. Moreau and Nicholson both have injuries that will keep them out of action until sometime in training camp. Sprinkle had a highly-publicized shoplifting citation that got him suspended from Arkansas’ bowl game. Seventh-round pick Josh Harvey-Clemons failed multiple drug tests during college.

They did stay away from players with histories of high-profile violent incidents like Dede Westbrook, Joe Mixon, and Caleb Brantley.

How those red-flag players turn out will be the key to this draft. It’s fine to take some chances, especially when you go into the draft with 10 picks. But you have better win more than you lose.

There were enough players taken who seem to be sure bets to be productive, if there is such a thing in the draft, to make it unlikely that the draft will be a total bust. Allen, Anderson, and Perine are clean prospects who have very high floors. Allen and Anderson may have Pro Bowl ceilings.

Given that, they seem to be assured of having a least a productive draft (again, with the caveat that nothing in the draft is certain). If Sprinkle develops into a good third tight end who can block and be a threat to catch a pass, that’s a plus. If Moreau can develop into a starter, this could be a pretty good draft. If sixth-round WR Robert Davis can contribute on special teams and be a productive fourth or fifth wide receiver, that would be another plus.

In short, the Redskins did some good work towards giving this draft a chance to be a success. Now it’s up to the coaches, to luck, and seeing how players who are projected to play well at age 22 actually perform on the field when they get older and suddenly have a six-figure salary. 

MORE REDSKINS: Clear winner from Redskins 2017 Draft?

Quick Links

Why Nate Sudfeld is one clear winner from Redskins 2017 NFL Draft

Why Nate Sudfeld is one clear winner from Redskins 2017 NFL Draft

For months Redskins fans debated if the organization would take a quarterback in the 2017 NFL Draft. The question made little sense though, as Washington has three passers on the roster already.

Certainly Kirk Cousins unique contract situation brought some intrigue to the draft. Might the Redskins consider a draft day trade of their franchise quarterback, especially if the team knows a true long-term deal remains elusive? Even with a rumor floated about the Browns pursuit of Cousins, no trade materialized, as most plugged in Redskins reporters had been suggesting for some time. 

Still, at each Redskins pick national commentators wondered if Washington might look for another passer. Pittsburgh's Nathan Peterman was one name. He lasted until the fifth round when the Bills selected him, giving the 'Skins not one but two chances to draft Peterman in the fourth round. They chose Samaje Perine, a true value pick in the fourth, and Montae Nicholson, an upside play after an up and down career at Michigan State.

Later in the draft, when the 'Skins were flush with picks, the team continued to eschew from quarterbacks. Miami Hurricanes QB Brad Kaaya didn't get picked until the 215th pick. It's possible that the Burgundy and Gold draft board never popped with a QB when the team's pick came up, just simple bad timing. But one thing was certain during the NFL Draft in Philadelphia, teams will make aggressive moves to get QBs they believe in. Washington didn't. Even late in the draft, the 'Skins moved up to get a player they liked in Wyoming's Chase Roullier. The organization wasnt afraid to go get players they liked. 

What does all this mean? It likely means the Redskins believe in Nate Sudfeld.

Drafted in the sixth round in 2016, Sudfeld showed some promise during the preseason his rookie year. At 6-foot-6 and 235 lbs., the former Indiana Hoosier has ideal size for the position. Most important, former Redskins general manager Scot McCloughan was a big believer in Sudfeld's promise.

Washington showed again and again that McCloughan's input still mattered on their draft board. Early picks like Jonathan Allen and Ryan Anderson certainly seem like McCloughan picks - and the former GM scouted Anderson at the Senior Bowl in January. Samaje Perine, the strongest RB in the draft, fits McCloughan's physical football player mold.

Cousins is going nowhere in 2017, and maybe, just maybe, the team and their quarterback get a deal done before the July 15th deadline. Colt McCoy is locked in at backup QB, and the organization believes that he could step in for Cousins and the offense would not be particularly slowed.

And then there's Sudfeld.

Cousins is under contract for 2017, and Bruce Allen made clear the team has more options in 2018. It's entirely possible Cousins is the 'Skins QB for the next five years, a deal could get done, or the team could use the non-exclusive franchise tag on Cousins in 2018. Let the QB negotiate with other teams, and Washington can match or get compensated for his exit. 

By that time, Sudfeld would be two years in the Redskins system. It's likely he will get a lot of work again this preseason, and the team will be watching his development with a close eye. Should Cousins exit, it's still premature to suggest Sudfeld would emerge as the Redskins starter in 2018, as McCoy is under contract in 2018 also. 

What is clear, however, is the Redskins did not invest in another developmental quarterback in 2017's draft. They must like the development of the passer that's already in house. 

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!