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News Wars

News Wars

There is an old adage that says that you should never pick a fight with one who buys ink by the barrel. Maybe that's changed; you might be able to get away with it if you buy bandwidth by the terabyte.

A few months ago the Redskins picked a fight with the Washington Post over what the team perceived to be overly negative and inaccurate coverage. What was a skirmish involving the pulling of season tickets on the Redskins part and some highly critical columns by Post writers has escalated. From an article in the Washingtonian: Redskins spokesman Karl Swanson says the team is ramping up its Web site and putting up news because fans couldn?t see through the ?filter? of DC?s news outlets. Both Redskins owner Daniel Snyder and coach Joe Gibbs are behind the effort to portray the Redskins ?unfiltered.?

?"We want people to see things for themselves, as opposed to information filtered through editors or producers,?" Swanson says. ?"Our focus is to be a news source.?"(It's difficult to read this and not recall Daffy Duck spitting out, "This means war!" after having been outsmarted for the umpteenth time by Bugs Bunny.)

Can the Redskins be a legitimate news source? Sure, in some ways. Redskins.com can be a good source for finding out some raw information such as this player was released and that one was signed and for hearing and watching interviews and press conferences that the media might not carry, at least not in their entirety.

For example, when Joe Gibbs holds a press conference, that's news and Redskins.com carries those live and archives them. You can hear every one of Gibbs' official press conferences since the day he was introduced as the returning head coach. The other media will carry selected quotes and clips and that's the "filter" that Swanson is referring to.

They've taken it one step further now with videos of interviews that involve same-day happenings. For example, they webcast an interview with Santana Moss' agent the day that Moss agreed to his new deal. Nothing earth-shattering was said and this is evidence that the Skins are moving into manufacturing news as well as making it.

The notion that this "news" is "unfiltered" is, obviously, utter nonsense. The interviews are by Larry Michael, the former Clear Channel executive who began moonlighting as the play by play announcer for the Redskins last year. The team enticed him to quit his day job and become some sort of a communications director for them. Hard-hitting these interviews are not. The information is indeed filtered, it's just a different filter, a burgundy and gold colored one.

Relying on Redskins.com for your Redskins news is no different relying on the Republican National Committee for your news on the administration in the White House. Of course, given the adverserial relationship that has developed between the Post and the Skins, relying on the Post exclusively for Skins news may be like sticking to, well, the Washington Post for your political coverage. I trust that most of us have become educated consumers of news and will take in information from a number of sources.

What's ironic here is that the Redskins are attempting to establish the idea of a website as a source for legitimate news. What's odd about that is that the team refuses to grant media credentials to any news organization that has a presence only on the Internet (most other teams in the league follow the same policy). So, in my position as the editor of WarpathInsiders.com, I can't get media credentials based solely on the fact that it's a web-based news and information source. The message that the press pass policy sends is that no Internet-based news sources are really legitimate--except, apparently, for the one that resides at Redskins.com.

The Redskins' efforts to manage the news actually started a few months ago when Joe Gibbs stopped his regular interviews with WTEM because the hosts were being too adversarial. Instead, Gibbs started doing radio interviews with Mr. Tenacious himself, Michael. Fortunately, the news takeover attempt is quite transparent and, again, most consumers of news will see right through it.

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Doug Williams says Redskins will listen to draft trade offers but a trade up is unlikely

Doug Williams says Redskins will listen to draft trade offers but a trade up is unlikely

The Redskins aren’t in the quarterback business, so it’s highly unlikely that they will look to trade up in the first round of the draft on Thursday. But their phones will be open for business to move down. 

Speaking at the team’s pre-draft press conference, Doug Williams didn’t rule out trading up from the team’s first-round spot at 13thoverall but he doesn’t think it’s likely. 

“The chances of trading up might be a little slimmer than trading down,” he said. 

Williams said that the phones in the room will be ringing and that they will listen to any offers. But usually the team that wants to move up initiates the call and because the Redskins are set at one particular position they probably won’t pick up the phone. 

“If we were in the quarterback business, which is what this league is about, if we were in the heavy quarterback business we’d talk about moving up,” he said. “At this time, we can sit back and see what comes up if we stay at 13.”

The Redskins are set at quarterback after they traded their third-round pick and cornerback Kendall Fuller for veteran Alex Smith to replace the departed Kirk Cousins. Williams thinks that the Redskins already got good value from the pick. 

“When I think about Alex Smith, I say we got the best third-round pick in the draft,” he said. “I don't care what nobody says. You can't get a better third-round pick.”

Because they think they got a good player, albeit an older one, with that pick, the Redskins are not necessarily looking to make a deal to move back and recoup that pick on draft day. 

Williams emphasized that in order to move back, you have to have a team that wants to trade up. Often that is easier said than done. 

“They don’t just call you to ask you, they have to get a player that they want,” said Williams. “At that particular time, they’re afraid that somebody else might pick him. They might call you to ask you if you want to move back . . . If we move back, that’s because somebody called us to see if we want to move back.”

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Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

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Why the Redskins should take a serious look at Virginia Tech’s Terrell Edmunds

Why the Redskins should take a serious look at Virginia Tech’s Terrell Edmunds

NBC Sports Washington’s four-part digital series ‘E-Boyz’ -- chronicling the illustrious past, decorated present and bright future of the Edmunds family -- is NOW LIVE. Check out a new episode daily, leading up to the 2018 NFL Draft. Watch the second episode above and more here.

Many Redskins fans are hoping the team secures a defensive back in the first round by landing a guy like Derwin James or Minkah Fitzpatrick. But if Washington opts to address a different position in Round 1, there'll be a quality safety available in the middle rounds in Terrell Edmunds.

Terrell, the brother of top-10 prospect Tremaine, is projected to be taken in the third or fourth round of the 2018 NFL Draft. As of now, the Redskins don't have a selection in the former, but a trade could change that. They pick 109th in the latter.

"Terrell possesses high end speed and explosion traits that are coveted for his position," writes NFL.com. "He has man cover talent against big targets and should step right into a role on the coverage units for special teams."

With D.J. Swearinger and Montae Nicholson, Washington's starting safety tandem is taken care of on paper. Nicholson was injured often as a rookie, though, so depth is needed behind him. And their special teams have been leaky for quite some time, providing the Virginia Tech Hokie a place to make an immediate impact while he works his way into the defensive rotation.

It's a rotation he would likely feel at home in, too. Edmunds is more than comfortable talking trash, so if he does become a Redskin, he'd fit right in alongside the likes of the fellow vocal guys like Swearinger, Josh Norman and Quinton Dunbar.