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Ticket rage

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Ticket rage

The Washington Post obviously is very anxious to create a buzz about their multi-part series about issues within the Redskins ticket office. When I awoke this morning there I had an email in my box giving the outline of the initial installment of the series and a link to the story.

In the first few paragraphs we were led to believe that the throng of Steeler fans that were in full throat at last year's Monday night game happened due to the fact that the Redskins sold general admission tickets directly to brokers. Later in the story, we find out that 443 tickets to that game were sold to brokers. That's not good, but it certainly doesn't account for Steeler Nation disrupting the Redskins' offensive play calling. Many, many more tickets than that were sold to Steeler fans. I think that there were 443 of them tailgating in the spaces immediately adjacent to mine in the Green Lot.

But, hey, good bit of investigation there, WaPo, for uncovering that broker deal. Oh, wait, you didn't uncover it? The Redskins themselves did? And they stopped it? And the disciplined the employees involved? All by themselves?

Like I said, what happened clearly was wrong. Apparently, anxious to sell some club seats, some in the ticket office packaged up some premium seats with some lower-bowl general admission seats. The former are available to anyone who calls up the ticket office and want them, the latter are supposed to go to people on the season ticket waiting list (or to upper deck ticket holders as an upgrade with the vacated nosebleeds to people on the list).

The Redskins uncovered all of this last spring and disciplined the associates involved in an unspecified manner.

This is wrong on many levels but it also was a violation of team policy. Judging from Twitter and some message boards there is some inclination out there to go after Dan Snyder with torches and pitchforks. There is no reason to think that Snyder had anything to do with this. Are you going to go after Snyder if the beer guy short changes you?

Tomorrow's story in the Post will deal with something with which Snyder probably is more familiar. In order to get the premium seats you have to sign a contract. You can't buy them for just a year. The contracts are for from six to 10 years. Since 2005, according to the Post, the Redskins have filed 137 lawsuits in an attempt to prevent premium ticket holders (club seats and suites) from breaking their contracts.

The angle, of course, is that the mean old Redskins are picking on individuals and struggling companies by forcing them to honor contracts that they signed. Certainly one would think that the Redskins could grant some leeway in these tough economic times. And it's possible that they do. According to a statement that they sent out this afternoon in anticipation of the Post's coming story, they first attempt to negotiate a compromise with the party wanting to break the deal. For every lawsuit filed they say "dozens" of successful negotiations have resulted in companies and individuals being able to get out of their agreements.

I hope that the Post story on Thursday offers up some key bits of information about these lawsuits. Among the things I would need to know before either condemning the Redskins or taking up for them are:

  • What do other NFL teams do in such situations? I'm sure that the Redskins aren't the only team with such issues. What do Jerry Jones and Robert Kraft do when someone wants out of a premium seat deal?
  • This would require a legal opinion but I'd like to find out if what happens to future cases if you give someone a pass. In the story there is an account of one club ticket holder who wanted to get out a few years early and was sued by the team. If the team had just let this guy go, would that establish a precedent that would make it difficult for them to go after, say, a corporation with five years and a million dollars left on a deal for a suite?
  • Was that one club seat holder offered a compromise? What were the terms of the compromise offered?

I guess when someone wants to break a contract with the Washington Post corporation they are perfectly free to do so.

I also suppose that I'm going to be called a Snyder apologist by some. Sorry, but there is plenty to dislike about Snyder without piling on with stuff like this. I'd rather have all of the facts before I make a judgement.

Update: TV station USA 9 reports that on his radio show, LaVar Arrington has said that Snyder "had to know" about the ticket sales because he is a "tyrant". Now let's see, Arrington is an unbiased source since he has no ax to grind with Snyder, right?

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Need to Know: Another big day on the ground on tap for the Redskins?

Need to Know: Another big day on the ground on tap for the Redskins?

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, December 11, eight days before the Washington Redskins host the Carolina Panthers.

Timeline

Today's schedule: Redskins vs. Eagles 1 p.m.

Days until: Panthers @ Redskins 8; Redskins @ Bears Christmas Eve 13; Giants @ Redskins, New Year’s Day 21

Injuries of note:
Out:
G Long (concussion), S Blackmon (concussion), DE Lanier (leg)
Limited: TE Reed (shoulder), G Scherff (ankle), DE Jean Francois (knee/foot), DE Baker (ankle), G Shawn Lauvao (groin)
Final injury report

Final thoughts on Redskins vs Eagles

—The Redskins have not stopped a team in a goal to go situation since September. The Eagles are good in such situations, converting TDs 84 percent of the time. If the Redskins can get a stop and force a field goal try when the first time the Eagles get down there that would be a big psychological boost for the visitors. Or, better yet, maybe they can just not let the Eagles get any first and goal opportunities. That’s what happened when the teams played in Week 6.

—In that Week 6 meeting the Redskins rushed for 230 yards, their best performance on the ground this season by 79 yards. Matt Jones picked up 135 yards on 16 attempts, Rob Kelley had 5-59, and Chris Thompson kicked in with 9-37. It’s unlikely that Jones will be active so it will be up to Kelley to get things rolling on the ground.

—For all the talk about Kirk Cousins having the Eagles’ number, he had one of his worst statistical games of the year against them in Week 6. He completed just 52.9 percent of his passes, his lowest completion percentage of the season. Cousins also threw perhaps his worst interception of the year, a pick six that tied the game at 14 in the second quarter. The bottom line was that he made some plays and the Redskins won but he likely will have to play better this time for his team to prevail today.

—Carson Wentz has six interceptions in his last three games, including three last week against the Bengals. Josh Norman is due to get an interception, overdue, in fact. Don’t know what will happen but the chances seem good that a Redskin will get his hands on a Wentz pass today.

—We saw last week that the Redskins are not a lock to go on the road and win against a team that is desperately fighting for its playoff life. Fortunately for the Redskins, the Eagles do not have players who are the equals of David Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, and Patrick Peterson. While plenty can go wrong I think the Redskins come away with with the win.

Redskins 28, Eagles 24

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Redskins bring former starting center back to active roster

Redskins bring former starting center back to active roster

The Redskins officially brought Kory Lichtensteiger back to the active roster, and while the move is now for depth, it could have other ramifications down the road. 

The move is on the NFL's transaction report for Saturday. To make room for Lichtensteiger, the team released defensive lineman A.J. Francis. 

Dealing with injuries up and down the line of scrimmage, Lichtensteiger's return could give the offensive front more flexibility. When Lichtensteiger got injured Week 3 and sent to the injured reserve, third-year pro Spencer Long stepped in and performed well at center. Last week in Arizona, Long sustained a concussion.

That injury opened the door for John Sullivan, who will start this week in Philadelphia with Long ruled out. Sullivan was brought in as a backup to Long once Lichtensteiger was put on IR. With Long now in the NFL concussion protocol, the Redskins need another center should Sullivan get hurt. Alas, Lichtensteiger's return from the IR. 

Left guard Shawn Lauvao also sustained an injured groin, and that's where things could get interesting. Long is capable of playing guard, as is Lichtensteiger in a pinch. Should Lauvao's injury persist, Lichtensteiger might be able to help there.

Against the Eagles, the plan certainly appears to be second-year man Arie Kouandjio starting in place of Lauvao. Kouandjio made one earlier start this season - Week 4 against Cleveland - and the results were mixed.

If Kouandjio stumbles and Lauvao needs more time, Lichtensteiger's return to the roster gives Jay Gruden and Bill Callahan more flexibility, especially when Long returns from injury.

In fact, once the team has Long, Lichtensteiger and Sullivan healthy, there could be a bit of a logjam roster-wise on the offensive line, but considering all the injuries, bumps and bruises that are part of O-line life by the last four games of the season, the Redskins staff likely won't mind figuring that out. 

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