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Monk: Explaining the Obvious to the Dumb

Monk: Explaining the Obvious to the Dumb

Monk: Explaining the Obvious to the Uninformed

You can reach Rich Tandler by email at WarpathInsiders@comcast.net
The reasons that Hall of Fame voters keep finding to exclude Art Monk from the Hall of Fame have gotten more and more ridiculous each year the former Redskin great gets excluded. The absolute worst one I’ve ever heard came from Paul Zimmerman of Sports Illustrated, aka Dr. Z, who came up with this gem in an article on SI.com:

SI.COM: How about Art Monk?

Dr. Z: Monk was hurt by Michael Irvin being eligible this year. It's done alphabetically, and Irvin was presented before Monk. I think that really hurt him.

This is the kind of nonsense that those in favor of Monk’s induction are up against in trying to make the case for Monk. My reaction at the time:

So, Monk is out because “I” comes before “M” in the alphabet? Irvin makes the final six and Monk is voted off the island by sheer luck? The granting of the status of immortality is dependent on such happenstance? Perhaps the bylaws should be amended so that they go in inverse alphabetical order in even-numbered years. If not, how will Monk ever surpass Irvin in the minds of the selectors?

I would assume that it is the solemn duty of each selector to walk into the selection meeting brimming with knowledge about each of the 15 finalists. While there is some discussion, I would think that it would take some new and stunning revelation by someone in the room to swing even a single vote. If the attention span of the selectors is so short that they can’t consider each candidate in his own right, they need to get some new selectors or at least get some ritilan in the room.
The one supposedly rational, lucid argument is that Monk was very good for a long period of time and didn’t have any great seasons (completely ignoring, of course, 1984 when he became the first NFL player to catch 100 passes in a season). If there was a hall of very good, they say, Monk would be in, but he doesn’t belong in the Hall of Fame.

This holds absolutely no water. While you can argue about definitions of “great” and “fame”, there is exactly one objective standard for deciding who should be in a sports hall of fame: How does this player compare with players who are already in the Hall of Fame?

Every other player who has held the career receptions record has been elected to the Hall of Fame, including Steve Largent, the man whose record Monk broke. He finished third in receptions in 1978; his next-best season was sixth place. His teams played in a handful of playoff games and never played in a Super Bowl.

OK, Largent did lead the league in receiving yards twice and that’s a nice credential. But what about Charlie Joiner? You talk about someone who made it as a complier of numbers. He played for 18 yards and retired with 750 catches, the record at the time. In a single season, he was never higher than third in receptions, never better than fourth in receiving yards.

The very good for a very long time club in Canton doesn’t include just Largent and Joiner. Hall of Famers Jackie Slater and Dan Dierdorf on the offensive line, quarterback Len Dawson, tight end Jackie Smith, defensive end Jack Youngblood, linebacker Nic Buoniconti, and defensive backs Paul Krause and Lem Barney are other who were recognized for their sustained excellence over a long period of time rather than for a smaller number of dominant season.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not trying to tear down Largent and Joiner and the rest of them to build up Monk. To the contrary, most of them are deserving of having their bronze busts Canton. But if they are in, you have to put Monk in.

If you want to try to do something about the refusal of some members of the committee to do something about this, there are a couple of avenues. Here on this site we have posted contact information for the writers who vote for the HOF. It is up to date to the best of our knowledge. It would be better if your communication had a respectful tone and it’s probably too late to contact anyone who has just a postal address since most of them will be leaving for Detroit on Monday and the balloting will be held next Saturday.
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There is also a new effort this year, an online petition at electartmonk.com. They have over 1,000 signatures so far. I don’t know if such a thing will help, but it’s certainly worth a shot.

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No tension between Jay Gruden and Kirk Cousins, but the coach wants improvement 

No tension between Jay Gruden and Kirk Cousins, but the coach wants improvement 

MOBILE -- Jay Gruden is making jokes about Kirk Cousins again, and that's good news for Redskins fans that worried about a fracture between coach and quarterback. 

It all started in the weeks following the Redskins dreadful Week 17 loss to the Giants as Gruden and Cousins seemed to be throwing slight jabs at one another.

Gruden, in his end of year press conference, explained that while Cousins "showed flashes" in 2017, when the team goes 7-9, the coach can't say any player was outstanding: 

You know when you’re 7-9, you know it’s hard to say, ‘Wow, this guy really was outstanding.’ You know there’s a few guys obviously that jump out, Pro Bowlers like Ryan Kerrigan had a solid year. Obviously Trent when he played was Pro Bowl type, Brandon when he was healthy was Pro Bowl type guy. Kirk had his flashes where he was really good. From a consistent standpoint, over the course of 16 games, you know we’re 7-9. He did some great things, threw for over 4,000 yards and 29 touchdowns I believe. So, I think he’s a very, very good quarterback without a doubt, but as far as getting us over the hump from 7-9 to winning a division with all the injuries that we had, I think he competed and did some good things.

Cousins, in his year-end radio appearance with 106.7 the Fan, explained that he wants the team to do better but doesn't think the 7-9 record should fall on his shoulders alone. (Quote via Washington Post)

What I gathered from the comment was 7-9 and the quarterback play are causally related and that quarterback play is 7-9, 7-9 is the quarterback play. I saw that and I thought, ‘I think it’s slightly more complicated than that.’ I think there’s a few more dynamics in play as to what your final record is. … At the same time, his job is to evaluate. That’s a big part of his role and his position. In that comment, he’s just doing his job, he’s evaluating the position and he has the right to say what he wants to say.

Both comments were fairly innocuous, but also clearly at odds. Combine that dialogue with the undercurrent of another offseason contract negotiation, and it seemed things between coach and quarterback weren't quite right. 

On Tuesday, speaking at the Senior Bowl, Gruden cleared the air. Asked directly about tension between he and Cousins, the coach was blunt. 

"No." 

Gruden went on to explain his answer about Cousins 2017 play, the now infamous 7-9 line.

"When I say 7-9, if I say one player played great that means I'm saying everybody else was not very good," the coach explained (full video above). "I think we all have to stick together, we all have to improve from a 7-9 season, coaches, players, everybody."

Cousins was good in 2017, throwing for more than 4,000 passing yards for the third straight season. He also showed that he can produce offensively without a great supporting cast, as injuries robbed the Redskins of many of their best passing game threats and seriously damaged the offensive line. 

The quarterback did play two terrible games in the last month of the season, however, including a three interception stinker in the Week 17 finale.

It's possible that Gruden had that fresh in his mind when he spoke in early January, and with the benefit of a little time, his assessment mellowed by late January. 

Either way, Gruden joked about Cousins deserving a vacation, and even said the QB needs a tan. Gruden often uses humor to defuse touchy situations with Redskins players, and maybe he just did it again. 

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayNBCS for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcastshere for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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Redskins have begun contract talks with Zach Brown, but free agency looms

Redskins have begun contract talks with Zach Brown, but free agency looms

Redskins fans want Zach Brown back. Bad. And for weeks there had been no news about contract talks between Washington and Brown. 

Now that's changed.

"We've been talking to his agent," Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said on Tuesday. 

Gruden, speaking from the Senior Bowl, explained that the team would like Brown back in 2018 but Washington also understands that the linebacker might want to explore the free agent market. 

"It’s a process," Gruden said (full video above). "These guys have a chance to be a free agent, they had a good year and they want to check what the market is sometimes. If we can get them before they get to free agency, great, but if not, the bidding wars will begin."

For Brown, free agency will look different in 2018 than it did last season when he signed a one-year. bargain deal with the Redskins. 

Prior to injuries forcing him to miss the final three games of the season, Brown led the NFL in tackles. For two straight years, 2016 in Buffalo and 2017 in Washington, Brown has proved to be a tackling machine and arguably the fastest linebacker in the NFL. Brown also signed new representation last offseason, Jason and Michael Katz of CSE Football, and should Brown hit the free agent market the Katz brothers will aggresively market their client. 

Washington Senior Vice President of Football Operations Eric Schaeffer will handle the contract discussions for Washington, and is known as a shrewd negotiator. 

Like many business deals, this will come down to money. Brown established himself as a fit in Washington, both on the field and in the locker room. Interior linebackers do not command top dollar like pass rushers do, but Brown will still expect to be compensated appropriately. 

Further complicating matters for Washington, the Redskins only have Josh Harvery-Clemmons, Zach Vigil and Martrell Speight under contract for 2018. 

It's too early to predict what "it's a process" means from Jay Gruden, but Redskins fans should draw some encouragement that talks have begun with Brown. 

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayNBCS for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcastshere for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!