The size and role of government is a smoking hot topic in politics these days. So when Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell announced that a state grant of 4 million was part of a deal that brought the Redskins training camp to Richmond and committed the team to staying in Loudoun County and expanding its facility it raised some questions.It just so happened that the governor had his monthly appearance on WRVA radio in Richmond on Thursday and he fielded a question from a caller about the grant. The caller said its not the role of government to subsidize sports.McDonnell said that while he understood the callers general point there were larger considerations.There are certain incentives that do work to bring jobs to Virginia and to be able to provide new opportunities for the citizens of Virginia, and I think that's a legitimate role for government, said McDonnell."If we had not acted, and 9.8 million of tax revenue had walked out the door to another jurisdiction, I'm sure that many citizens would have been concerned about the fact that we'd then have a 9.8 million budget gap in our economy," he added.Like it or not, state government incentives are a part of the cost of doing business these days. If one state doesnt offer up a package of tax breaks and subsidies for a business to relocate or remain there, another state will. In trying to save a few million dollars the first state loses tens of millions in tax revenue.The City of Richmond will pony up 400,000 out of its capital improvement fund to help prepare a training camp location for the team. Camp is expected to generate some 5 million in economic activity annually so the city should get a return on its investment. McDonnell does not know where in Richmond the site for camp will be and he said its not his call."My role was to make sure we got the deal in Virginia," he said. "The details of how and where they practice and play is going to be solely up to the city of Richmond. I'm sure they've got several venues they're looking at."
Here is what you need to know on this Friday, September 22, two days before the Washington Redskins play the Raiders at FedEx Field.
Today’s schedule: Practice 12:05; Jay Gruden and Matt Cavanaugh press conferences, open locker room after practice, approx. 1:30
—Monday night Redskins @ Chiefs (10/2) 10
—Monday night Redskins @ Eagles (10/23) 31
—Cowboys @ Redskins (10/29) 37
What they’re saying about the Redskins
The Washington football team — your most persistent headache, the squad whose light hadn’t even flickered during the preseason and the first game — awoke Sunday with a kind of performance that can bring a team together, that can be called upon in difficult times throughout the long year.
This is a good, one paragraph summary of what we saw on Sunday in Los Angeles. It wasn’t any reason to throw a party or anything but it was a sign of life. They avoided getting crushed by fans and the media for being 0-2. At 1-1 they have life, especially with the rest of the teams in the NFC East experiencing some struggles as well.
Washington can be a force when its rushing attack gets going. Over the past three seasons, the Redskins are 15-2-1 when rushing for at least 90 yards as a team (3-13 when they don't). The 229 rushing yards Sunday against the Rams were Washington's second most in that span.
They jumped from No. 24 to No 17 in these rankings, more of a reflection of the overreaction to the loss to the Eagles than any actual improvement in the team. I think the Redskins belong somewhere in the middle of the pack right now and that is where most have them now.
They ran all over the Rams, which is a good sign for the offense. Now they have to amp up the passing game.
This is a good point on ramping up the passing game. Even a moderately efficient performance throwing the ball would have meant a dominant win for the Redskins. They won’t be able to run for 229 yards every week and Kirk Cousins has to get it going.
I suppose most will explain this in one of two narratives:
1. Cravens was never committed to football, and Washington needed to move on rather than letting him continue to be a distraction.
2. The bumbling Washington brain trust committed another blunder, this time blindsiding a player who was trying to right his life off the field.
The reality is probably somewhere between those two sentiments. Coaches need to know who is on their roster going forward, and the 22-year-old can use the time to chart a clear path forward. Remember, a Washington legend once took a year off because his heart wasn't in the sport.
The Cravens story remains a puzzle with many missing pieces. The key may be in the 15-minute conversation he had with Doug Williams on the sideline before the Texas-USC game the night before the Redskins played the Rams. Perhaps the talk convinced Williams that Cravens is not in the proper frame of mind to return to the team and that the additional two weeks they could have taken before putting him on the reserve/left team list would not make any difference. It seems like too much of a coincidence that two days after Cravens talks face to face with a member of the Redskins brass for the first time since he left the team a week before the season opener.
That’s just speculation but that’s all we have at the moment. By the way, the legend who once took a year off was John Riggins, although his 1980 absence was more of a contract holdout than it was his heart not being in the sports, although there was an element of the latter involved.
In case you missed it
Some NFL players ooze confidence. They thrive on emphasizing what they do well and not speaking about weaknesses. In a game as tough and physical as pro football, some players need to feel bulletproof to survive.
Chris Thompson is not like that. He was one of the stars in the Redskins’ 27-20 win over the Rams on Sunday. He rushed three times for 77 yards and two touchdowns and caught three passes for 29 yards. And while he enjoyed the win, he did not revel in his performance as he made a glaring mistake.
In the third quarter, quarterback Kirk Cousins threw him a perfect pass over the middle. The speedy Thompson had nothing but green grass and white stripes in front of him. But he dropped the pass, turning what likely would have been a 62-yard touchdown into an incompletion.
That play stuck with him despite his touchdown runs of 61 and seven yards.
“I’m not going to lie to you,” he said. “On the plane ride, getting dressed after the game, this morning watching film, when I was outside at practice, I was thinking about that one play. My first thing I wanted to do when I got out there in individuals with the quarterbacks was to run that route again and catch the ball.”
FANTASY: TO START CHRIS THOMPSON OR NOT?
Instead of reliving his glory, he went to work to correct one mistake.
This is not a lone instance of Thompson focusing on negative plays that he made. He said that mistakes stick in his mind more than good plays. During a few minutes talking to reporters on Wednesday, he recalled going the wrong way on a choice route against the Dolphins in 2015, costing a possible touchdown, making a similar mistake against the Browns last year, and errors that led to sacks of Cousins last year and of Robert Griffin III a few years ago.
“All of those things that I look back at that I did wrong, it helped me become a better player this year,” said Thompson. “I’ve been able to go back and look at that and see what went wrong and fix it now. As of late as I’ve become more confident in what I’m doing and more confident in my abilities I’m able to play better.”
Whatever Thompson is doing to become a better player is working. He signed a two-year contract extension earlier this month. Jay Gruden sings his praises whenever he’s asked about him. His teammates almost universally admire and respect him. In his fifth NFL season, many analysts around the league are starting to recognize him as a main cog in the Redskins’ offense.
It is unlikely that he will change his approach.
“I had to mess up a lot in order to get where I am now,” he said. Thompson will continue to perfect his game by putting his imperfect moments under the microscope.
MORE REDSKINS: FIVE UNDER PRESSURE VS. RAIDERS