We are down to the final four in the 2012 NFL playoffs, and there are plenty of Redskins still playing, such as Pro Bowler Carlos Rogers, Mr. Devin Thomas and Andre Carter. There is also a team the Redskins owned in the regular season still playing in the New York Giants, as well as our neighbors to the north in the Baltimore Ravens. Some DMV fans are jumping on the bandwagon, and others would rather jump off the Wilson Bridge than root on the Ravens.
In this week's edition of Chain Reactions, the Wizards made national news this week for all the wrong reasons, do the Redskins have their own Alex Smith and the Capitals have a tough decision to make this off-season with their version of LaRon Landry.
Dunk Heard Round the World
Wizards center JaVale McGee made a play that is usually saved for the All-Star Game, a McDonald's All-American game, a dunk competition or on the playground. You could call it knuckleheaded, selfish or really frickin' awesome, and on all accounts you would be right. I used to do the same shot when I was younger on my nerf hoop.
As someone that has seen some really unfortunate Wizards moments up close over the years, this was hardly an all-timer in terms of embarrassing moments.But what compounded the situation for me and others was McGee's non-chalant reaction afterwards.
"Apparently, if you get a fast break and throw it off the backboard in the third quarter, and you're 1-11, you're not supposed to do stuff like that," said McGee, "I felt like I was trying to get the team hype and trying to make a good play. I felt like I did that and went on a run from there." (actually the Rockets had a 19-4 run after that)
McGee was benched by Flip Saunders after the incident and also rewarded with the ninth spot on Top 10 plays on Sports Center. ESPN's own Analyst Jalen Rose then blamed Sports Center and MTV (don't get that) for such selfishness.
McGee's "me moment" against the Rockets comes a game after he had 23 points, 18 rebounds and five blocks in the loss to the 76ers. Overall he has shown improvement this year. Here's what NBA.com's David Aldridge had to say about McGee the other day when breaking down impending free agents.
The Wizards would like to lock up McGee, who is second in the league in blocks at 3.2 per game, 10th in rebounds (10.1 per game) and has shown improvement at the offensive end. But at 1-11, Washington is not anxious to put big money into any of its players. The Wizards have learned from extending underachieving Andray Blatche a couple of years ago that paying for potential is not the way to go for a team that has so much rebuilding yet to do.
The Wizards are bad this year and are going to continue to be bad. Big-picture, this is not bad because they still need to add another franchise player to run with John Wall. But while this process takes place, it's important to just stay below the radar. No off the court controversies, no on the court diva acts and a regular dose of hustle would be nice as well. Fans will deal with losing if you play hard and show some growth. They just won't go to the games though until you win.
For more on the Wizards, visit Bullets Forever.
Can Redskins Get Rex Grossman to Become Alex Smith?
Even if the Redskins like Heisman-Trophy winner Robert Griffin III of Baylor, they may not have enough ammunition to jump in front of the Cleveland Browns to draft him. So what options does that leave the Redskins? Certainly, those questions are being asked out at Redskins Park as we speak. The research is being done and Mike Shanahan and staff will have the opportunity to see plenty of those players up close at next week's Senior Bowl, where they will be coaching.
If they return from that trip not impressed with the talent, they could start thinking about free agents and trades. Or ... the most dreaded of Redskins scenarios: re-signing Rex Grossman.
I'm not saying they should do that. However, for the sake of argument, let's investigate CSN Washington's Rich Tandler's question: could Rex Grossman become San Francisco's Alex Smith?
But is it possible the Redskins would be giving up on Grossman a season too soon, as the 49ers almost did with Smith?
One big point as to why it is not possible for Rex to become Smith: Jim Harbaugh is not walking through that door. Grossman is also 31 and Smith is 27. Rex has also now been with Kyle Shanahan for three years and Mike Shanahan for two, and the turnovers have not gone away. Smith in year one with Harbaugh cut his turnovers down, and the 49ers were plus 28 in the giveaway/takeaway category.
It should also be pointed out that before last week's heroics against the New Orleans Saints, there had been few moments of excellence for Smith as a playmaker. It should also be pointed out that he may have never been a 49er this year with a real off-season. The 49ers' Smith situation was called a marriage of convenience before the season.
He has been called a "game manager." The Shanahans have showed they are not willing to go game manager/low risk, and the 31-year-old Grossman is not a player that protects the football. Smith is four years younger than Grossman and, by the way, is a free agent. So if you want to replicate Smith, you can go get him.
For more on the Redskins, visit Hogs Haven.
Can the Capitals Afford to Invest in Mike Green?
The Redskins have a difficult decision this off-season with talented safety LaRon Landry, who is a free agent. When he's on the field, he's a difference maker. Problem, though, is he's rarely been on the field the past two seasons. It is a tough decision for Mike Shanahan this offseason.
Maybe he should call Capitals general manager George McPhee, who can certainly relate to the Redskins' predicament. You see, the Capitals have the NHL's version of Landry in Mike Green.
Green is going to be out 4-6 more weeks as he gets set to undergo what has essentially been called surgery on a "sports hernia" by McPhee. The former All-Star and two-time Norris Trophy finalist has been seen more in a suit over the past two seasons than his uniform.
Green has missed 60 of the past 72 regular season games, adding intrigue to the organization's decision this offseason when he becomes a free agent. Does he have value? You bet: the Caps are 9-1 this season with Green on this ice. The problem of course is keeping him there, and the injuries are not just on one area of the body as the Washington Post's Tarik El-Bashir points out.
To review: Green been sidelined with shoulder, knee, hip flexor, ankle and groin muscle maladies. Along the way, there have also been two concussions, which, according to some around the NHL, are more concerning than all the others combined.
Surely Green and his agent will point to his healthy seasons where he had 70 plus points, him only being 26 and being extremely popular with the fans. However, can the Capitals feel confident tendering a qualifying offer of $5 million to a player that has not been durable? GMGM will have to rely heavily on his medical staff and perhaps dial up the Psychic Friends Network (are they still in business?)
It's a tough call. Keeping Green could mean locking up valuable cap space to a player that won't suit up. Letting him go could mean he lights you up if he gets healthy. Good thing McPhee gets paid the big bucks.
Certainly a return to the ice for the post season (assuming the Capitals make it) would go a long way in helping the Capitals trust Green again. I would say at this point it is a wait and see situation as to whether or not No. 52 will be here beyond this season.
For more on the Capitals, visit Japers' Rink.