Sunday, December 28, 2014

Washington Sports Aren't A Lost Cause

No, this is not a post about how terrible the Redskins are now, and will forever be hereafter. They may be. But while the Redskins' season has come to a horrible yet merciless finish, the focus for sports fans around the DC Metro area should turn to hope.

You see, there's a star who had early success, struggled, dealt with fan and media backlash, came back from injury and showed flashes. No, I'm not talking about embattled QB Robert Griffin III. I'm talking about Washington Wizards' point guard John Wall. The major difference between the two, is that John Wall has now found his groove and started to really come into his own.

Wall is perhaps the most exciting athlete to watch in Washington sports right now. He's very young, and has a lot of growing left to do on the basketball court. But the promise he shows now only makes his capabilities later that much more intriguing, and hopefully special. Wall is as complete a defender in the NBA as there is, whether he earns honors or not. Wall is one of the most dynamic, electrifying offensive players in the NBA, whether he earns honors or not. Wall is one of the best teammates and leaders in the NBA, whether he earns honors or not.

The addition of Paul Pierce has been somewhat of a Godsend for the Wizards, but more so for John Wall. Pierce is playing on younger legs than he has since he was holding the trophy in Boston. But what Pierce brought to Washington besides his athleticism, is his savvy and mature presence. Pierce knows all the little tricks of the trade on and off court, and while he may not be the most outstanding and boisterous motivator, it's apparent the team looks up to him. In situations where last year the Wizards would have been likely to cool off or become complacent, Pierce is urging his teammates to hustle and push through. In the final moments of the game, the Wizards are not just trying halfheartedly to leave the arena with a win, they're fighting as if they have to take a lead they may already have.

But Pierce has rubbed off on John Wall. We saw hints of it last year after the All Star break. Wall was clearly aware of things he could do as a teammate that other stars around the league do. But this year it's different. Pierce is not the only player urging his teammates to keep fighting through. John Wall is actively sprinting back on defense after a score, not only signaling strategy, but getting his teammates to recognize they need to keep up the tempo and control the pace of the game. Defensively, every single one of Wall's teammates is able to play more sound, because Wall is playing defense at the highest level in the league for a point guard.

It reflects in the Win/Loss columns. The Wizards have gotten off to one of the best starts in franchise history, and they are on pace to have one of the best seasons in franchise history. Washington went from a team that could make the playoffs and push any team to the limit, to a band of brothers who can give fans hope that they will not go down easily.

John Wall and Bradley Beal both broke down in tears on the court after losing in the playoffs a year ago. Marcin Gortat's expression was utter disappointment. They knew they were better than losing to a Pacers team who had all but begun to crumble, but they needed to learn a lesson. They needed to experience more and have it taken away from them. Much like Wall needed that All Star appearance to realize what his contemporaries did to be successful, the team needed to get close.

Regular season performances and wins do not guarantee you can win it all. The Wizards may be in striking distance, and they may come up short. But there will be even more fight in them this year than there was a year ago.

Bradley Beal still has a lot of room for growth. There are times when you see hints of him trying to get it, and there are times when you wonder just how far away he may really be. But Beal, like Wall, shows that potential and has plenty of time left to develop into that player. His journey will be even easier with Wall leading him, not just on the court, but through the progression of becoming a more complete player. And when Beal one day finds his groove and starts to come into his own, John Wall should already be the complete player we believe he is becoming, and that day will spell Hell for every team in the NBA.

But for now, the focus is on getting through the regular season healthy, continuing to grow as a team and being able to communicate on the floor. No matter how many tattoo stories there are from Jason Reid or how many times Colonoscopy Cow-turd tries to suggest John Wall is just an exciting player who is not ever going to win a championship, the important thing is there is a team in Washington who has a legitimate shot at competing for a championship soon, and if all goes as planned, will be able to compete for them for many years.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Washington Redskins Back to a 4-3 Defense?

We talk about this all the time. In a passing league, many feel it is better to have 4 LB's than 3 on the field as it clogs passing lanes over the middle of the field to hopefully take TE's out of the game. But you need to be sound. Yet a sound 4-3 defense can do the same. Look no further than the Seattle Seahawks.

Choosing between a 4-3 defense and a 3-4 defense is simply about the players you want to find. In a 4-3 defense, you want leaner defensive linemen and linebackers can be more physical. In a 3-4 defense, you typically want a bulkier DL and leaner LB's. There are plenty of all types available in the draft every year, and many players succeed at being available as hybrids by shedding or adding some weight. The Redskins are a unique team, because they have a bunch of those hybrid players who could flip depending on what the team has, wants, and needs.

If the Redskins, as they stand right now, were to flip back to a 4-3 defense, there would not necessarily be a ton of changes to be made. Cornerback would ultimately be able to stay the same, unless you wanted to switch to more zone instead of man-to-man. Safety is a concern either way, but you would more than likely want to get yourself a more athletic Free Safety and let one of the guys you currently have in Ryan Clark/Brandon Meriweather/Philip Thomas play strong safety.

Linebacker is tricky because the OLB's are former college 4-3 defensive ends and not quite a fit to play OLB in the 4-3 with more coverage assignments. Ryan Kerrigan and Trent Murphy would revert to defensive ends. Remember, I'm saying as we stand today, Brian Orakpo would more than likely shift to a 4-3 DE rather than a 4-3 OLB, although he showed in his rookie year and several instances at Texas that he could play 4-3 OLB. Rak would be a much better pass rusher from a 3- or 4-point stance as a 4-3 DE.

Moving inside, you could always flip Keenan Robinson to OLB in the 4-3, although his intelligence would probably suit him well as the MLB in a 4-3. Perry Riley could be a good fit at MLB in a 4-3, but it's all about whether you feel Keenan would be a better fit. Perhaps a better fit based on his style of play and the few looks the Redskins have had of him in real game situations is Will Compton. This would allow Robinson to utilize his athleticism on the outside and Compton to play a more true 4-3 MLB style of football. No matter what, the Redskins have more flexibility with this unit in a 4-3 than they do in a 3-4.

The problem with the defense really comes at the defensive line when you try to figure out how to work with Barry Cofield, Jason Hatcher, Chris Baker, Jarvis Jenkins, Stephen Bowen, Kedric Golston, and so on. While Cofield has previously had a great amount of success as a 4-3 defensive tackle, many in the group do not have the same experience, save for Jason Hatcher's best season as a 3-technique in the Dallas Cowboys' first year back to a 4-3 themselves. Hatcher and Cofield could be a formidable duo inside in the 4-3, but young guys like Jarvis Jenkins could easily be a fit. The most important thing would be for Baker to lose some weight if he is to stay inside, as it is not clear if he is a capable of losing enough weight to be a legitimate 4-3 defensive end who would be used more to rush the passer than to stop the run. The best case-scenario for Baker is to beat out either Cofield or Hatcher for an inside spot, but perhaps Cofield does not even return for another season in Washington.

So if we are to look at strictly what the Redskins have today, if they moved to a 4-3, the depth chart would look a little like this:

RDE: Brian Orakpo; Trent Murphy
NT: Barry Cofield; Chris Baker
DT: Jason Hatcher; Jarvis Jenkins
LDE: Ryan Kerrigan; Trevardo Williams

ROLB: Keenan Robinson; Jackson Jeffcoat
MLB: Will Compton; Perry Riley
LOLB: Gabe Miller

RCB: David Amerson; EJ Biggers
LCB: DeAngelo Hall; Bashaud Breeland
FS: Ryan Clark; Trenton Robinson
SS: Brandon Meriweather; Philip Thomas

As you can see, there are obvious areas of concern, specifically at both safety positions. There would also be an unaccounted for LB spot. With foresight, it's very likely that Brian Orakpo is not on the team next season, EJ Biggers may well be on the outs. Ryan Clark may be looking at his final professional game against Dallas this weekend, so he would be a surprise return and potential longshot to make the 53-man roster barring major disappointments in the offseason. That's a Defensive End, and Outside Linebacker, a Cornerback, and a Free Safety. Add to that the possibility of Cofield not being kept by Washington and you could be looking at another defensive lineman needed.

So what do you think? Did we get anything wrong? Did we miss anything? Who would be viable in the draft or free agency?

Monday, December 15, 2014

Washington Redskins - Change and Growth?

Yet another week, yet another Washington Redskins embarrassing loss.
Wherever you go, there you are. - Some asshole somewhere, sometime.

Like much of the past two decades, the Washington Redskins have dissolved into a puddle of obscurity before season's end. There were bad plays. There were bad penalties. There were bad attitudes. There were bad play calls. There were bad decisions by players. There were bad decisions by coaches.

In New York, Washington was bad like they have been in Washington. Like they were in Indianapolis before that. San Francisco before that. Minnesota before that. Wherever they go, there they are.

The problems are bigger than any one person, or any one group. The Redskins are bad by collection--and I mean that more than saying it's on everyone. I mean--literally--the pieces that the Washington Redskins have collected have made them bad. From hiring GM's, presidents, assistant presidents, public relations, coaches, assistant coaches, scouts, free agents, to drafting players. The Redskins have--for all the hate I have in the world for a term ruined by internet--failed, at building anything other than an inflatable practice-bubble a-la Mike Shanahan and making a complete mockery of the very name they vehemently attempt to defend.

Daniel Snyder has not built himself anything but a national embarrassment. He has turned the Washington Redskins into a circus rather than the football franchise and dynasty it appeared Jack Kent Cooke and Joe Gibbs had begun to establish in the 1980's and 1990's. The head coach turnover rate is a mockery, and the fact that Dan Snyder continues to surround himself with best friends and yes-men shows exactly why he--and the Redskins football team by association--will continue to fail.

One of the biggest problems with the Washington Redskins is Senior Vice President (who also somehow runs the Public Relations department as well as the social media platforms) Tony Wyllie. Wyllie has been nothing but confrontational in his entire tenure, and that was poetically on display following the Redskins' week 8 victory over the Dallas Cowboys. Wyllie famously shoved McCoy away from a post-game interview on the field, shouting "no means no!" He later tried to explain he did not want McCoy missing Jay Gruden's post-game locker room speech, but that begs the question - why did you make the situation so difficult? All Wyllie had to do was step in, tell McCoy "your coach is about to speak to the team, this interview is over." What he did was shove the quarterback without McCoy realizing who it was and causing a major scene on national television and becoming the butt of more jokes.

Then we have Bruce Allen, who notoriously suggested publicly when "sworn in" to the Washington Redskins front office that he would always be accountable and available to media, has all but shied away from football matters when approached by a microphone or recorder. Perhaps it was the fallout of everything that happened with Robert Griffin III's injury and the poor handling of the young quarterback's image, but that Allen has not been available or accountable publicly has caused the fans to question the integrity of a man who they thought was "all in" for them.

The scouts? The drafts? I should not have to go into depth to explain to you why there is nothing to be proud of in either department. The scouts have been lauded for their intelligence and talent evaluation. There have been rumors to suggest they have been overruled time and time again in the past. It may still be happening. So why do these people even have a job if nobody is letting them do their work?

The Washington Redskins have failed to build. Few players in Washington have been developed. When you look at the players drafted in the last decade, few have grown into stars for the team. Some have gone on to other organizations and rebuilt themselves as reliable, capable teammates. You can not have this many regimes and keep having the same results and blame it on the players on the football field any more than you blame everyone from the top down.

The only brightness in Washington is to realize there is a foundation to build upon. This is a strong organization with a ton of influence, money, history, fan support, and (despite the discussions and debates) a name and image which resonates proudly with fans of the team and even fans of the sport.

The same can be said of the talent on the field. Robert Griffin III has come under intense fire from every angle by people suggesting he is not capable of playing and succeeding in the National Football League. Others who say he just can not do it with Jay Gruden. Others who say he just can not do it with the Washington Redskins. He has a strong foundation from which you can build, and all of the athletic tools you look for in a professional athlete. Question his durability, but it is not as easy to question his ability. RGIII is not flawless. His mistakes on and off of the field are not to be ignored or denied. But you know what he can do athletically, and you know that you can coach him to become a polished professional quarterback. That is exactly why the team must re-brand themselves and in doing so, re-brand RGIII the football player.

I do not mean re-brand by changing names and changing logos and changing uniforms. The Redskins need to re-brand themselves as a football team devoted to winning Lombardi trophies and dominating the scoreboard. The Redskins need to re-brand themselves as an organization to be an ideal destination for hungry, talented players. It may seem like a tough task, because it is. However, the blueprint is not far from home. In fact, the blueprint lies with the professional basketball counterpart in the Washington Wizards.

John Wall, much like RGIII, was highly touted in college and entering the draft. He had limited experience, he was young, and he came with questions. His durability was tested, his growth and ability were questioned, and many outcast him for not being the one-man championship appearance that some insane, manufactured image suggested he would be.

I do not know where John Wall is headed in his future, but it looks bright. I do not know if Robert Griffin III can put it all together the same way John Wall did. But when you see those flashes and you consider he is still in the early stages of his "put-it-together" years, you would hope you can achieve something with the kid in the near future. It paid off with the Wizards, in large part because the team re-assessed how they branded themselves and the players on and off of the basketball court. The Wizards re-committed their focus to being all about basketball, and brought in help from big guys to depth to smart draft picks to veterans in order to help Wall grow on the court and start to show the world who he is off the court. The Wizards are developing players with excellent, capable leadership, a front office who realizes they need to push the on-court product, and trust.

Of course, you only do this if you believe it can work with Robert Griffin III, and that means assessing the mistakes he has made, and continues to make, and figuring out if you can work those issues out. Maybe the coaches decide they can not, or do not want to, but for a guy who was not in a pro-style offense, did not have a second offseason and battled through his rehabilitation period to be on the field with teammates, and then lost the opportunity to work on his timing with receivers this season due to his injured ankle, perhaps the opportunity is deserved to give everyone a fair chance. But you have to build a team around him. You have to tailor to his strengths. You have to let him be himself. You have to make Washington Redskins football the priority and focus.

Maybe that's all wishful thinking and too much to ask. But the simple fact that the Wizards did it and they are practically your roommates in professional sports suggests it can be done. If not? Wherever the Redskins go, there the Redskins will be... a mockery.

Monday, December 1, 2014

It Sucks Being a Redskins Fan


January 26, 1992 – I was 4 years old and my mom brought me down to her family's house to watch the Washington Redskins play in Super Bowl XXVI against the Buffalo Bills. My whole family was excited. They were certain the Redskins were going to win, but they bickered over every dumb play and watched with the nervous equivalent of reckless abandonment. My uncle sat on the right side of the room yelling at the idiot miscues. My aunt was being optimistic telling him that Mark Rypien would settle down and get in a zone. I was enamored by how important all of it seemed.

The Redskins went on to defeat the Bills 37-24. My uncle was a nervous wreck until the final play even though it was clear the game was already over. My aunt was ecstatic from the moment the Redskins got their final possession of the game to run the clock down. The rest of my family celebrated together. Me, growing into a Skins fan myself, could not believe just how much better this win felt to everyone than any other. My uncle—right on time—explained to me why a Super Bowl was so much more important. "It's the final game of the year. The best team wins. You get to brag until next year that your team is the champion." The word "champion" explained all of it to me, being that I was also a wrestling and boxing fan.

Just like that, I was locked for sure. It was certain to me at that point that I would always root for the Redskins. I "liked" them enough at that point that I wore t-shirts and watched with my family anyways. But with 3 championships in 9 years, there was a certainty about the team.

Fast-forward just shy of 23 years, and the Redskins have gone from a celebrated powerhouse to a snowball of jokes. Every offseason, there is/was a major signing or pair of signings which was "sure to put the team over the threshold" and make the Skins contenders. Every season, we watched as those signings didn't pan out and then fell right back into obscurity.

Things were supposed to change when Joe Gibbs came back, hopefully ending the highest coach-turnover rate in the NFL since the Redskins won the Super Bowl and Daniel Snyder bought the team. Gibbs' teams did some okay things. The Redskins had one of the most promising players in the history of the NFL in Sean Taylor. When Taylor was murdered in his own home, the team had a miraculous turnaround on the season and got into the playoffs, but fell flat, emotionally drained, in the fourth quarter of a playoff game in Seattle against the Seahawks. Gibbs retired a second time and fans were left wondering, "what next?"

Next was a bigger circus than what we had ever experienced before. Seattle's quarterback's coach was hired, presumably, to be the Redskins' next offensive coordinator. But when nobody took the job as head coach for fear of already having an offensive coordinator picked out for them, the Redskins were forced to appoint Jim Zorn as the head coach. Taking on a struggling Jason Campbell who had never had a consistent scheme or offensive coordinator, Zorn got off to a fast start his first season. But then injuries piled on as Clinton Portis fell with a concussion after having one of the best starts in NFL history. Others fell and the lack of a run game magnified the flaws of Campbell at quarterback.

The struggles continued into the next season as everyone wondered if anything could go right. The Redskins even pulled Sherman Lewis out of calling numbers at a bingo hall to call plays for Jim Zorn's struggling offense. Vinny Cerrato was fired from his position of General Manager mid-season and Bruce Allen was hired to replace him immediately. Rumors were abundant with who the next head coach would be, but seemingly the entire world was certain that Mike Shanahan was the next guy.

Those rumors turned out to be true as Shanahan was almost immediately hired to take over as the head coach of the Washington Redskins. Mike gave Campbell his word he'd be the starting quarterback for the Washington Redskins, and in a heartbeat, Shanahan did the unheard of and traded within the division for Philadelphia Eagles' QB Donovan McNabb. The defense was horrible immediately. The offense wasn't far behind from falling apart as injuries mounted and players realized they were not a fit for Mike Shanahan's scheme. Then came the year of Rex Grossman and John Beck. Then came the first-of-it's-kind trade for the right to draft Robert Griffin III at QB out of Baylor.

Robert Griffin III gave Redskins fans what Mike Shanahan could not even give them… hope. Perhaps the fans put too much pressure onto Robert Griffin's shoulders, but RGIII was asked constantly about being coined a savior and he always seemed as if that was a burden he was willing to try to shoulder. He was confident he could attempt to help the Redskins rebound. And from the moment he stepped onto an NFL field as a starting quarterback in a meaningful game, he wowed. Electrified. Owned the burden and seemed to be conquering it.

Then every Redskins fans' worst nightmare was realized when RGIII was injured in a late-season game after some of his most exciting performances in Baltimore. All of those rookie-season records, team records, and league records that RGIII had acquired, were all suddenly insignificant. But then it was ruled a sprain and he wouldn't miss a lot of time. But they brought him back and he did not look as though he was the same player. Then in the playoffs, after having won the division for the first time in 13 seasons, Robert Griffin III went down vs. the old foe Seattle Seahawks. The whole offseason, during any availability, Mike Shanahan was asked about his decision to leave RGIII in the game. He blamed Robert and the medical staff. Robert blamed Shanahan. This was all just a hint of things to come.

Robert was "all-in for week 1"… and everyone from the top down had signed off on it being a sure thing. Even Mike Shanahan. Mike could have sat Robert until he was 100%. He chose not to. Structurally, there were no problems, but strengthening was an issue. But the player was not mentally ready. Everyone could see it. Mike Shanahan chose not to make the decision to leave Robert on the sideline to heal. They wanted to teach him on the fly. The Redskins struggled. Then came rumors. Then came leaks. Then came what all can agree was Mike Shanahan's attempt to assassinate the character of each and every individual in the organization, except for his son.

Shanahan was fired. In comes Jay Gruden. In stays Jim Haslett. Robert Griffin III is fully healthy and returning with a happiness that did not exist at the end of 2012 or at all in 2013. DeSean Jackson was acquired through free agency in addition to Andre Roberts. The offense is supposed to flourish with all of these changes.

It is now week 13, heading into week 14. The Redskins are 3-9. In week 2 against the Jaguars, RGIII went down with a dislocated ankle. In came Kirk Cousins, who all but destroyed any trade value he may have had left with untimely interceptions, pressing with plenty of time left, and overall just horrible accuracy on some of the easiest throws to be made. Colt McCoy was inserted into the lineup and finished the game vs. the Titans, and helped secure the lead and victory in large part to Pierre Garcon's ability after the catch. Colt McCoy then started the game vs. Dallas and thanks to the best performance the defense has had all year, the Redskins came away with the upset victory.

Robert Griffin III was healthy again, and came back to play the Vikings in week 9, when two late leads were squandered by the inability of the defense to play sound in critical moments of the game. While Griffin was not spectacular, the performance was not horrible considering he was coming back from injury and managed to connect on passes to 7 different receivers. Again, Griffin managed to enter the fourth quarter with a 20-14 lead, and then managed to get a response TD in the fourth quarter. The defense crumbled immediately after to lose the game.

Following the bye week, the Redskins hosted the Buccaneers and the defense was, again, abysmal. That's not to say the offense did not play a part in the loss, but RGIII was not the only problem. Yes, he held onto the football too long—a recurring theme throughout his career—but he also did not get help from his teammates on his two interceptions. Both were drops by the intended receiver. An issue with the defense also assisted Tampa Bay in the victory, but I will touch on this issue in a moment.

Following the loss to Tampa Bay, the Redskins went on a road trip to San Francisco to take on the struggling 49ers. It was, without question, the worst game of Griffin's career. But it was also not the team effort you would expect of any NFL franchise. And while it was not a brilliant game by RGIII or anyone else for that matter, the Redskins did manage another lead in the fourth quarter that was immediately squandered by the defense.

Then came the change from RGIII to Colt McCoy heading into the Redskins game at Indianapolis against the Colts. The talk all week was that McCoy gave the team a better chance to win against the Colts, that players could be evaluated more appropriately with Colt in there as the more capable quarterback, and that the same mistakes that Griffin had been making would not be a factor.

Immediately it was clear that the same mistakes were going to keep happening. It was also clear that there was no better chance to win vs. the Colts. There was no chance at all. Colt did make plays eventually, but there was also a lot left on the field and he was incapable of making easy plays because the offensive line continued to struggle as they have since the start of the 2013 season. Robert Griffin III may very well be a problem. A problem. But this is a team where problems extend from the inability of receivers to separate or catch; coaches dialing up the correct plays in the right situations; players committing stupid penalties or playing with no urgency; defenders taking poor angles or whiffing on tackles; defenders not playing their responsibility in zone or when rushing the passer/collapsing the pocket. The issues go beyond just the players, but also to the coaches.

Robert Griffin III is not a pocket quarterback. Not yet, at least. Perhaps he never becomes one. Maybe he needs a fair shake with full health and focus solely on his offense. Maybe he needs another camp with his receivers down in Texas like he did prior to his rookie season. No matter the case, it should not be coaches forcing a round peg into a square hole. Griffin has a very specific skill set and a team built to run the football and make plays off of the run. Work to the ability of your players.

But my focus is more on the defense. For almost 5 whole seasons, Jim Haslett has failed miserably at putting his players in position to win football games. Outside of a few bright performances against Dallas, the Redskins have struggled mightily. Sure, they have never been able to address safety, even though they brought in Ryan Clark to shore up the back end a bit and provide a "sure" tackler and a veteran leader. There is no communication in the secondary. DeAngelo Hall is out for the year, and that has hurt this team in unimaginable ways, no matter how popular it is to hate on Hall (unjustifiably), he factually is one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL. The pass rush is nonexistent at times, and when it is there, there is no consistency, in large part because the offense has been unable to stay on the field and build a lead.

But back to the communication. Every week there is an error where the opposing offense sends their best receiver in motion and he gets lined up on Perry Riley in an obvious mismatch. Riley is not a bad player, but his weaknesses have been magnified and amplified by Jim Haslett's inability to adjust to the entire league running the same look, motion, and play, leaving Riley to get embarrassed and look as though he is responsible for every major mishap on the defense. There is no communication when corners try to play over the top and a safety bites on an underneath route. Or when a corner jumps on an underneath route thinking he can leave his man to the safety who has also bit on the underneath route. The corners have struggled in zone coverage, because they are press-man corners who Jim Haslett insists on having play 7 yards off of their man every play.

The Redskins coaches put good players in bad positions. They do not teach their players how to communicate with one another, obviously both on and off of the field. While Robert Griffin III may have had no right to call out the entire team (if you believe that's what he did), his point was accurate. Nobody is playing up to their potential, and a large part of that falls on everyone being put in the wrong position. Yes, players still have to know innately how to play to their responsibility. A coach should not have to drill week after week how to get to a specific depth or stance or how to read what their teammates are doing while also reading what their assignment is doing, but the fact that these mistakes keep happening week after week suggest it is more than just miscommunication between player and player. There is a clear miscommunication or disconnect between player and coach.

If players have to be held accountable, coaches have to be held accountable also. The general manager and owner have to be accountable. Will that ever happen?
Hail to the Redskins.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Redskins Fans Need Patience and Impatience

Mike Shanahan was hired by the Washington Redskins to take over for the 2010 season as the Head Coach and general manager. The two-time Super Bowl (head coach) winning Shanahan did many things in his tenure with the Redskins, the first of which was to set out and let players know that none of them are bigger than the team. Albert Haynesworth was the key example. Then Donovan McNabb. Then, to a degree, LaRon Landry.

What the Redskins did next was establish youth across the board for the Redskins. Going from one of the oldest teams in the league under Joe Gibbs and Jim Zorn, the Redskins quickly became one of the younger teams in the league (especially at the top of the depth chart) and this was a major part of their ability to contend in 2012 and win the division championship for the first time since 1999.

But youth does not bring great leadership. There needs to be a balance. London Fletcher was a tremendous leader, but his skills on the field were fast-declining and this made it tough for teammates to trust him on the field, no matter how much they respected him off of it. Many players also made stupid mistakes. Fred Davis being one of the major trouble-makers for his late nights, hangovers, and marijuana use.

Robert Griffin III was drafted in 2012 to become the face of the Washington Redskins' franchise, and he electrified early and often, setting team and league records almost every single week. But a torn ACL late in the year/in the playoffs led to Griffin needing surgery and his timetable to return (All in for Week 1) was a major rush. Griffin was cleared, but many questioned if it was a wise decision. Griffin played, and did not play with an explosiveness.

For much of the 2013 season, we wondered if mistakes were made. Then, every week, there were leaked reports of dissension between players and players, players and coaches, coaches and owner--and ultimately Mike Shanahan was terminated.

We all know just how important it is for a quarterback to have consistency in his career. Consistency in his stats, in his growth, in his maturation, in his relationship with other players, and in his relationship with coaches. Ultimately, you would prefer a quarterback stay in one scheme with one head coach and, for as long as possible, with the same offensive coordinator. We watched Jason Campbell here in Washington go through offensive coordinator after offensive coordinator, and his best year was the result of his first time with the same coordinator. But Campbell was inconsistent, on and off the field, and it resulted in him being shipped out by Mike Shanahan only weeks after being promised it was his team.

Entering 2014, with a new Head Coach in Jay Gruden, and a new General Manager in Bruce Allen, fans hoped RGIII would become a more polished version of his 2012 self, with far more consistency than his 2013 form. But inconsistency started in the offseason when Gruden came in with a new system and a new scheme. Griffin not only has to continue to learn to play quarterback in the NFL, but he also has to learn a new set of plays, with new players, and new communication.

Aaron Rodgers did not get to start until his 4th year in the league. He was not a finished product, because he had to learn to play, not just study. Robert Griffin III was thrown in immediately. He is barely in his full third season. He also suffered a dislocated ankle in the second game of the year, so he lost more time.

You may question Griffin's ability to stay healthy. It is logical. He got hurt in college. He got hurt in the NFL, several times. But you have to be patient and allow him to find consistency. For now, the only consistent pattern in RGIII's career is inconsistency. Players need to learn. They need to play. They need to grow. Everyone should agree that Griffin is an electric, dynamic, fully-capable player. Give him the opportunity to grow into the player he is capable of becoming.

But this team is no longer young. Many of Shanahan's "in his prime" players are now in their 30's. Gruden is going to have to find his own youth, while also doing everything he can to give Robert a reliable group to find consistency with. So while you have to be patient with Robert Griffin, you may want to turn your impatience towards the veterans on this team who undoubtedly have to do more to prove they deserve to stay.

Patience will go a long way in helping Alfred Morris be the running back he was in years 1 and 2 of his career. Impatience will push Pierre Garcon to either live up to his contract or crumble and head elsewhere. Patience will help Jordan Reed get the chance Robert Griffin deserves. Impatience should force us to find offensive linemen who can help the offense play at a comfortable level every week.

I will not urge you to be patient, or impatient. I will urge you to be patient AND impatient. But keep in mind, you have to be patient in particular areas, and impatient in others. Robert Griffin III is not the problem. He is not a problem. Give the young guys with promise a chance. Give the new guys with experience the opportunity to grow with the young guys.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Marvel Releases HD Avengers: Age of Ultron Trailer

After yesterday's huge event, with official announcements for Captain America: Civil WarBlack PantherGuardians of the Galaxy 2Thor: RagnarokAvengers: Infinity War (Pt. 1 & 2), and much more, Marvel has finally released the first HD trailer for Avengers: Age of Ultron.


All day yesterday, we had a bunch of people releasing videos of the trailer filmed from their couch of their television. Marvel has given us the actual trailer now, in 1080p.

The trailer is much the same as the leaked version that the world saw last week, however, Marvel decided to throw in the Mjolnir challenge at the beginning of the trailer (perhaps a last-minute decision because fans already saw the rest). We see Tony Stark try to lift the hammer, and then he adds an Iron Man glove. Then comes War Mach.. err... Iron Patriot... with a glove from his suit of armor, attempting to help Tony Stark to no avail. Then Steve Rogers, b.k.a. Captain America, gives it a shot, where we see Mjolnir move a little (and a priceless look on Thor's face), but then Cap is unable to finish the job. And then we break down into total mayhem as the mangled remains of an Iron Man armor (Mark I?) have come to life in the form of the initial Ultron.

Avengers: Age of Ultron focuses on "Earth's Mightiest Heroes" as they once again join forces, presumably free of S.H.I.E.L.D. However, in the trailer, there is an appearance from former Director Nick Fury. Aside from Tony Stark's Iron Man, Steve Rogers' Captain America, Thor, and newly acquired teammate James Rhodes' Iron Patri... f' it, I'm calling him War Machine, the team once again features Bruce Banner and his HulkNatasha Romanova as Black Widow, and Clint Barton as Hawkeye.

We are certain much more will accompany The Avengers in this chapter of their journey, but we will leave it to Marvel to unveil that as they please.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Marvel Studios Makes Major Announcements

So today, October 28, 2014, Marvel Studios (Disney) held an event, with announcements being promised.




This was a major deal, because Marvel's last release of the upcoming dates for their films had a bunch of dates with no titles associated, and fans were only able to speculate as to what they could be seeing.

One of the first major announcements at the event, being teased for Avengers: Age of Ultron:

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Hoes or Happiness

I just launched a campaign over on TeeSpring and I hope you'll go check it out for me.

http://teespring.com/hoesorhappiness

They always said money can't buy you happiness. Someone told me on Twitter they would choose unlimited money over unlimited love because they "could buy hoes." Well, that's where the shirt comes into play!

Please go do what you can to help out. There are tees, long-sleeve tees, hoodies, and women's tees. At the very least, hit the share buttons, let your Facebook friends and Twitter followers know to go check it out.


Monday, October 20, 2014

DC Comics Alienates Television Series' Arrow and The Flash

As I am sure you all are aware, DC Comics announced their movie lineup and release dates centered around The Justice League movie. Fans were finally given an outline of what and when to expect from what many feel is the long overdue Justice League universe. The next step was to make a few more major announcements about the upcoming movies, and who will play the heroes and villains.

We already knew Henry Cavill would be returning as the Man of Steel. We knew Ben Affleck would debut as the caped crusader Batman. We had confirmation that Jason Mamoa would become Aquaman. We got news that Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson would take on the role of Black Adam in Shazam. Then we got news this past week that Ezra Miller would become The Flash. In an update which was later posted to that article:
"UPDATE: According to The Hollywood Reporter, Miller will indeed be playing Barry Allen - the same character Grant Gustin stars as in The CW series - as, "The story centers on Barry Allen, a man with super speed and super-fast reflexes." How do you feel about separate movie and TV universes?"
Personally, I feel this is a devastating development. While I do not personally like the casting of Ezra Miller in general, my feelings on that matter are secondary to why I believe this is a mistake. Many fans I have discussed what I call The JustiCin have echoed the very same sentiment, DC Comics made a mistake by creating a separate universe for the films than for the successful television programs Arrow & The Flash.

While I personally wanted to see Gotham take place in the same universe as Arrow and The Flash, I was forced to accept that I would just have to live with the difference. But now that I am forced to live with Arrow and The Flash being separated from The JustiCin, I am overwhelmingly disappointed. 


An incredible universe has been built in Arrow, and the branching of The Flash showed just how fortified Arrow's groundwork has become. It also gave fans hope that the two series' would lead to & be directly involved with The JustiCin, as many of the characters in Arrow have either directly appeared in the Justice League comic books, or in the solo comics & animated television shows for Batman, and to some degree, Superman.

Instead, these television shows will live independent of The JustiCin. How does The JustiCin affect Arrow and The Flash? Warner Bros. does not have movie/character rights divided amongst several companies the way Marvel does with Disney/Marvel Studios, 20th Century Fox, and Sony Pictures. The CW can not block DC Comics from using the characters from their shows in The JustiCin, and I would imagine they would welcome the "crossover" for the exposure and lucrative gains. It should have been logical for DC Comics and Warner Bros. to maximize Arrow and The Flash with mixing them into The JustiCin and using the shows to also promote the events within. It would have also allowed DC Comics to stick it to Marvel for what has become a subject of embarrassment when discussed among hardcore comic fans.

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. had two series' lows for viewership recently, and while not necessarily unsuccessful, it has underperformed in comparison to Arrow and The Flash. It would have been an even stronger statement by DC Comics had they subtlely or indirectly acknowledged their dominance in television and brought the championing series' into The JustiCin.

Of course I am just one person, my discussions have been with few. I would like to hear more from the fans on how they feel about The JustiCin and the "ommission" of Arrow and The Flash. Do you feel this move could hurt the television series'?

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Unboxing October 2014 Loot Crate #FEAR


I got my October Loot Crate. I was extremely excited Friday afternoon when it arrived. I was not expecting it to come on the 17th of the month when I got my first two crates on the 25th of August and September. I decided since I got it early, I was in a decent mood, and I was on the last crate of my first subscription plan, I would make the unboxing video special compared to the first two, and actually do a face-cam.

If you are not familiar with my first two videos, I basically just showed off the crates, the items, and my hands sorting through them. They weren't terrible. The crates were literally the focus of the videos. This time though, it felt more personal, more connected to the audience, and I was able to show off my reactions so you could see how exciting or maybe even (not likely) underwhelming any of the items in the crate were.

The theme is FEAR, which should make all the sense of the world. If you go to Youtube to view the video, use the link in the description and go subscribe to Loot Crate TODAY! You can still get the FEAR CRATE on Sunday only!

If you're watching in here only, use the following link to go subscribe to Lootcrate!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Redskins Fans - Do You Want Gregg Williams Back?

It seems like forever ago. In many ways, it really is. A lot of bad has come out of the years following the loss of Sean Taylor, the departure of coach Joe Gibbs and his assistant coach Gregg Williams. We got stuck with Jim Zorn. Our defense failed to make an impact every single year. We had the Vinny Cerrato disaster. We brought in Bruce Allen, who brought in Mike Shanahan and son Kyle. Mike brought in Jim Haslett. The defense has been in shambles since. Mike Shanahan is even gone and the things the defense did while he was head coach, they’re still doing with Jay Gruden at head coach. That says a lot.

A year ago, I asked why this defense seems to try to not make the play. I asked why the offense seems so anti-adjustment, flat, and unable to take a single pawn from the opponent’s side of the chess game. One player, then another, and then another chimed in with the same idea: Mike Shanahan coaches practice so that the offense is set up to win every single play. It made all the sense in the world. I had heard that before. It’s not uncommon for a coach to do such a thing. When the defense practices to lose, they’ll never play with an advantage. When the offense practices to win, they will never step up in the face of a genuine scheme and real adjustments by the opponent’s defense. You could almost say it was a little too clear last season. Perhaps the trend is still carrying on today?

I wanted Jim Haslett to get another shot at this without Mike Shanahan. With being able to scheme and adjust in practice. With replacing an aging, unable to cover, all-time great in London Fletcher. With bringing in an imposing, attacking Jason Hatcher. With addressing a concern at nickel corner with 4th-round draft pick Bashaud Breeland. Weeks later, and with an injured DeAngelo Hall, the defense is incapable of making plays.

Raheem Morris was brought in by Shanahan to help Jim Haslett, especially at defensive back. Morris’ units always succeeded in Tampa Bay, except when he was the head coach. It made sense to bring in a guy who clearly knew how to communicate with DB’s and bring out the best in all of them. But did he really? Since Morris has come in, the only player in the secondary to really make an impact was DeAngelo Hall, who did not really change his game too much from any point before. David Amerson, a promising young corner out of North Carolina State University, plays with physicality and intensity – things he displayed on the field in college, maybe only slightly amplified by Morris. Brandon Meriweather has shown incapability to cut the mistakes he has always made. There have been no adjustments to his game, his angles, or his tackling. E.J. Biggers, a Raheem Morris guy, has shown absolutely nothing on the field in his time here in Washington. Yesterday, he watched Larry Fitzgerald make a double move in front of him, stood still the whole way, and did not react to the play until the football was already in Fitzgerald’s hands.

But the rest of the defense is not adjusting. There is no pressure on opposing quarterbacks not wearing Jacksonville uniforms. There is no coverage ability from the linebackers not named Keenan Robinson. The defensive line pushes the pocket, but save for occasionally, there is no clean-up by the edge rushers.

But the defense is not the only unit struggling. The offense has its woes as well. No matter the offensive line unit; no matter the running back; no matter the rotation at wide receiver; no matter the revolving door at tight end; no matter the quarterback. Plays are being made, but not often enough. Rookies who are supposed to be groomed to take over from the incompetent vets can’t win the spot in practice and show in-game that they are incapable. But the offense has been a roller coaster over the years, and Jay Gruden is new to our staff and is trying to get the ball rolling. Jim Haslett has been here with the defense for years, now in his second regime.

There is a lack of swagger, ferocity, intensity, playmaking, and adjusting in this defense. Players are not playing their responsibilities, edges are not being attacked, and DB’s assignments are constantly blown. Tackling? What tackling? It doesn’t happen. We were spoiled by Sean Taylor in Washington. It is unfair to expect anyone else to play at his level. But Sean was a blueprint for hard work paying off. The fact that “nobody” is even close says a lot about how little work players put in. Maybe it’s not just the hard work, maybe it is the scheme. Maybe it’s a coach that nobody seems to go to bat for.

I remember there being bad performances from our defense under Gregg Williams where players spoke of how they disappointed themselves, their teammates, and “most importantly” the coaches. London Fletcher went to bat for the next Greg Blache, and was almost in tears speaking about how his coach did not deserve to be associated with such poor play from his defense. I have not seen a single player do the same for Jim Haslett. Do guys not want to fight for their coach?

I’ve yet to see a defense associated with Gregg Williams give up on him. A player or two ran their mouth in New Orleans and busted him for BountyGate. I do not condone what Gregg Williams and his defenses were doing in regards to hurting opponents. The system ran deeper than New Orleans, as former Redskins players chimed in saying he did the same in Washington. That was investigated but nothing ever came of it on the heels of CapGate. But all of that aside, it’s safe to assume Williams has actually cut that system. He is still a magnificent motivator, a great thinker, and a brilliant scheme and pressure coordinator. There were reports two offseasons ago that Williams would have been willing to return to the Redskins organization and speak with Dan Snyder. This past offseason, many wondered if it would happen with a new coach coming in, if Gregg would be willing to replace Haslett. But the Redskins retained Haslett, and Williams is coaching the defense in St. Louis.


So I ask fans, would you like to see Gregg Williams back in Washington coaching the Redskins’ defense? Would you like to see the return of the 4-3? Let us know in the poll below and leave a comment to discuss further.

Do You Want to See Gregg Williams Return to the Washington Redskins?

Friday, October 10, 2014

Halloween

What Are Your Halloween Plans?

Halloween is just around the corner, and for many people that I know, Halloween is one of the most fun holidays of the year in the United States, and it's gaining momentum worldwide. Little kids dress up and go trick-or-treating; high school students go to costume parties; college students go to bigger costume parties and host events at bars and clubs if they're legal; adults spend time with their children or even going to parties themselves with friends.

How are you going to spend your Halloween this year?

What Costume Are You Wearing?

We all know about the stereotypical girl Halloween "rules"... cute and sexy, not scary!

DUH!

Costumes are what makes Halloween fun, unless you're #TeamSkinnyFatAss like me and some of my friends and just want to binge on candy. While I don't personally condone you acting out like Ice in Hocus Pocus--being able to enjoy yourself with a belly full of 3 Musketeers, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, and avoiding Candy Corn at all costs is far more than an acceptable way to punish yourself in preparation for the following month's Thanksgiving Festivities!

So what do you all plan to dress as? There's the classic "Scream" get-up. There's comic book characters like Superman and Deadpool. There are legendary horror slashers like Michael Myers and Freddy. There are witches and devils and ghouls! Or you can go as a dude disguised as a dude playing another dude--or his latest incarnation of Iron Man! Maybe you even like to dress your pets in Halloween costumes!

So leave a comment and let us know what Halloween Costume you will (or won't) be wearing!

Decorations!

I'm that kid who always wanted to go see the lights and decorations on Christmas and Easter. Going for a ride with my grandparents or aunt was always fun. But on Halloween, you have to have your little house of Hell and haunts to keep passers and visitors drawn in, and/or freak them the Hell out! When I was a kid going trick-or-treating, we always had to visit a house that went over-the-top with decorations--lights, music, dummies, the whole shabang-a-bang! This guy even had a 30-foot skeleton that leaned over the entire front yard of his house! It was incredible--and fear-inducing for a young child, but fun!

Do you already have decorations? Do you plan on buying some? Do you not care for the showmanship?

Don't Laugh, People! Mwahaha!

My take on The Dark Knight's Scarecrow
Here at Don't Laugh, People, we obviously take Halloween seriously! We love to dress up, and even personally do the work to design our own costumes if it isn't something that we can buy straight up. We try to keep it theme-related every year while we go hang out with family, but it's perfectly acceptable for everyone to do their own thing based on what they want to do and what they're in the mood to do.

As you can see to the right, I dressed with my own take on The Dark Knight's version of Scarecrow with help from my best friend/brother. If you've ever made your own costume, or plan on making one this year, shoot us an email and submit some pictures (of the costume).

Try Not to Die!

Or be safe, to be more politically corre... no, you know what? F-that! Try not to die! Halloween is full of fake spooky, horrific things... but also full of a lot of the real ones as well. People use Halloween as their cover to actually commit heinous crimes such as robbery, murder, assault, and poisoning! Always be wary of your surroundings, the people you interact with, and anything you come into contact with. CHECK THAT CANDY, FOLKS!

But most importantly, have a Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 6, 2014

The Direction of Don't Laugh, People

The Purpose of a Website

The purpose of any website is to inform. That is, and will always be the case. The most successful sites are very specific.

However, "to inform" could be interchanged with "purpose," so to give a more specific answer of what the purpose of a website is, it's purely about attention. A website has to provide in demand content, it has to grab attention with it's layout and wording, and it has to keep consumers returning through long-term tactics such as giveaway, sales, subscriptions, etc.

What is the Purpose of Don't Laugh, People?

I have always considered Don't Laugh, People to be an extension of myself and other like-minded individuals who author posts here. I have wanted to promote DLP as being a less-specific entity, because no human in our possible audience is specific to one medium. However, as I have begun researching more and more, I would like to do something here that would reshape the identity of Don't Laugh, People. Instead of just bunching everything together into one giant blog of endless thought-stream, I am currently looking into creating specific branches to the DLP tree for a variety of subjects and topics. In other words, I am looking to do what we have always done, but in a broader variety with more specific ways to locate the content.

How Can You Make Your Website More Successful?

Currently, I am looking at the possibility of changing servers/hosting, and maybe even my source. Blogger has been a terrific catalyst for me in discovering what exactly I would like to do with Don't Laugh, People, but being a blog is not what I want to be, specifically. I want so much more out of DLP, and being restrained and shackled by the blog label, or Google & Blogger's user-unfriendly tools, has only made me realize even more how much more we are capable of. I have reached audiences I never imagined I could reach, I have promoted through Twitter which I have seen grow well-enough, but I recognize the potential for unlimited growth is even more alluring. While I know I have a lot of work ahead of me in order to get to the point I need, and that it can not be a sudden change, I am very excited about the possible future of Don't Laugh, People as a brand, a community, and an extension of more than just myself.

I will be enduring in the current format for now. But many changes will be coming, and in due time, the site will be more than just a blog, it will be the brand that I envisaged.

A Layout That Attracts Viewers' Attention

The other day I embarked on a mission to find a layout for Don't Laugh, People. I used to know people who would help design logos, templates, layouts, and even design the entire site for free, or at the very least, on a friendly discount. Prices for web-design work and assistance have skyrocketed over the years, with most designers asking upward of 4 figures before the decimal point, and some even asking for 5 figures before the decimal point. Granted, some of those asking for the highest amounts do more than just design your layout. They do logos, they do near groundwork coding, they add something unique to just your site, and they do promotion to help attract an audience to your site, and their work.

If you have the money, it is worth every penny to pay up and get all of the benefits of a professional designer. Blogger, as I mentioned above, is very user-unfriendly in this regard, so dealing with their sub-par templates is about as good as it gets unless you can work around the HTML and CSS. Or you can do as I did, download a program (even free trial versions work fine and not all of them watermark over your finished result). With these programs, you can do far more than most sites allow you on their own with stock, or even paid product. If you decide to invest money into these programs, you can make your own professional-LOOKING website. The more time you invest in studying, and doing the work, the better the result will be, but you have to put in the time.

I have settled at the moment, for just keeping a simplified template on the site, but I am working diligently on creating a new layout and design for DLP. After I gave fellow-writer Enigma a hard time the other day over her request that I do the research, I have heeded her advice and have been studying what designs, colorways, and layouts work the best around the net for respective purposes. While I've found it's still highly content-driven, there are things in general that make these sites successful that I would be ill-advised to not incorporate in my own attempt at designing the site.


I just wanted to take this time to update my audience on what I am doing with Don't Laugh, People right now, what I am working on doing currently for the immediate future, and what I hope to do for the foreseeable future. I want to thank my audience for sticking with us in the high and low points on the blog, points which reflect the highs and lows in my own life. I have a focus, I have a vision, and I promise you of these things--I just hope it is not too much to ask that you take me on my word and hope you keep sticking with us while we try to step up even further. Thank you! 

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Loot Crate

Before I begin, I am not sponsored by Loot Crate. I wish I was, and I hope somehow I find a way to be sponsored by them in the near future, but I am genuinely writing this post from the bottom of my heart. I love Loot Crate!

So I heard about Loot Crate at the beginning of the year, and got really interested. If you don't already know, I'm a geek, and a lifelong gamer. Loot Crate advertises themselves directly to geeks and gamers, so it's a match made in Heaven.

I missed out on July's epic VILLAINS crate, and there were so few when they released it as an old crate that it sold out in minutes. The crate had Deadpool socks in it, so my disappointment in missing out was amplified tenfold.

I did, however, sign up right away to get in on August's HEROES crate. It was only logical to believe they would have the summer's biggest blockbuster's most beloved hero involved in some way, and Loot Crate did not disappoint. The addition of the anthropomorphic tree got the August edition renamed by Looters as Groot Crate.
August Loot Crate - HEROES

While I was not personally the biggest fan of September's GALACTIC crate, there were still items that I appreciated. It's also worth noting that the crate's popularity among most in the community was more than well-received... it was a favorite for most.
September Loot Crate - GALACTIC

The upcoming crate is October's FEAR crate. As I did with HEROES and GALACTIC, I will be posting my unboxing video on Youtube. I also strongly recommend that if you are a geek, a gamer, or both... that you go ahead and Subscribe to Loot Crate IMMEDIATELY. *SIDENOTE: CLICK THAT LINK IF YOU ARE GOING TO SUBSCRIBE TO LOOT CRATE!*

Besides just subscribing and getting the actual crate itself, you automatically are signed up each month as a Looter for a chance to win the Mega Crate or Mini Mega Crate. This month's Mega Crate is said to contain $3000 worth of materials, which you COULD win for only the price of subscription. Even if the odds are not in your favor, the possibility that you do win the Mega Crate should be more than enough to push you over the edge when deciding whether or not to subscribe.

So go ahead, subscribe to Loot Crate, and join in on a fast-growing phenomenon! It's way more than worth every penny, literally!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Annoyances

So I have a lot to blog about—especially on this topic, which I’ve now added more to the list in the last 4 hours since I initially opened the page to start blogging this—and plenty to tell you all about in regards to Don’t Laugh, People. I will start with the topic at hand, and I will probably post my updates about Don’t Laugh, People on a different post.

Google

Google (and services) has really been a nuisance for me this past month. It started with Youtube, and advanced from there. I initially wanted to change my Youtube account so that it would be associated with my Google+ account, not with the Google+ page Youtube automatically set up with it. Unfortunately, the only way to do so would have been to change my Youtube name to whatever name was associated with my Google+ account, and I did not want that name. So lo and behold, I was stuck with a bullshit Google+ page for the Youtube account that I did not want, and could not associate my actual + page with my Youtube account.

Problems with Google progressed when I started trying to associate Don’t Laugh, People with AdSense. For those who do not know, AdSense is the service which allows you to monetize your page through ads. When I first started my blog, it was with a different URL. I tried to monetize then, and was denied. I never received information about why my site was denied. Since then, I changed to DLP, and recently decided to try and monetize again. One problem, the email associated with DLP was flagged for the previous denial, and AdSense does not seem to gather that the old URL may very well be (meaning – is) gone. However, there was no way to change the URL associated with that account on AdSense, so I had to use another email which has nothing to do with DLP, in order to apply.

This would not be a major issue for me, except for the fact that I have to log in and out of my accounts back and forth when dealing with AdSense. My other problem is that Google has apparently ceased all live support in recent months, meaning getting answers is even more frustrating than it ever was before.

We then compound this issue when I try to monetize my Youtube page, as again, I have to use an email that is not at all associated with my Youtube page. So every time I go to do something in one page or the other, I have to log in and out ad nauseam.

Youtube

To take my frustrations with Youtube further, I attempted to edit my most recent video’s audio by adding one of Youtube’s thousands of commercially-approved songs. I tried to do this after uploading. I set the mixer one “click” from the lowest setting, at which point the mixer said it would favor the original audio, not the track. I clicked save, waited, and then checked, and all I could hear was the track, not the original audio. I clicked on the Audio edit button again to check the settings and they were exactly where I set them. Perhaps one of you know and can leave a comment below… but should I have added the track BEFORE uploading the video? Did I do something wrong when I did add the track? I have since taken it off, but would appreciate if someone could let me know what happened and how to fix it.

Writing

There are always going to be times when writing feels tedious. It still feels a bit tedious to me writing this right now. I think what I have been put off by with writing for Don’t Laugh, People is the fact that I am not further established than I want to be with the site. More content would generate me being further along, providing me with the opportunities to partner/sponsor/promote/advertise, so in reality I’m just going about things wrong. But it is annoying at times to put the time and effort into writing something I feel represents me to all of you who may be reading and not having more to show for it in the end but a post that gets some views, maybe a comment or two, and not much else.

Don’t Laugh, People

The site has bothered me a bit, too. There are things I’ve wanted to do with the site for the longest, and can’t, because Blogger simply doesn’t offer the means to do those things. However, switching over to say, WordPress, really worries me as well. I’m competent when it comes to all of these things, but I’m not brilliant. I also worry about things that maybe I shouldn’t worry about, like, what if I switch my site over but before the URL gets verified someone else finds a way to upload it to their own server? Yeah, sure, I own the legal rights and I would win a battle, but I would still have to pay for the proceedings, etc. Maybe that’s not how it works at all… I’m not sure. But I’ve been hesitant to even bother taking the chance.

Another thing that bothers or “annoys” me when it comes to DLP is that I am not only restricted by Blogger’s bullshit, but I am also restricted by my own personality and life. I’m not complaining about being “restricted” by my personality and life… I’m happy being who I am and in the position of my life in regards to the people around me and the woman who I’m lucky enough to have love me. But there are things most successful websites do, that I at one point wanted to do, that I just simply would not feel comfortable doing myself. Eye Candy is a major victory for many sites… it would more than likely help DLP grow… but I cannot say I would feel comfortable promoting it on DLP when members of my family and my woman and her family know about the site. Basically, I’m behind the 8-Ball for things I’m proud of.


Anyways, that’s all I’ve really got to complain about at the moment. I was going to delve more into my personal life and things that annoy me, but I’ll just let those rest and pile up. After all, I haven’t done a “Why You’re Bitches” rant in a while… perhaps these will provide the necessary material for the return.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Make Me Your New NFL Commissioner

Based on recent events, Goodell is even closer to being forced out of the National Football League. I beg, I plead, I respectfully urge you all consider me when talking about who the next NFL Commissioner should be.

Here is my list of reasons why I would make the best next Commissioner of the National Football League.


  1. I will personally take an 80% pay-cut as Commissioner. Goodell made $44.2M last year on his salary, bonuses, and other compensation.
  2. I will give that 80% cut to retired players of the National Football League to help ease their transition from the game into the world.
  3. I will personally fight to establish a retirement account for every single NFL player for them to draw from in the later years of their lives, encouraging a better financial handling for each individual player.
  4. I will personally, regularly meet with players and coaches from all 32 teams in the NFL in order to get to know them all and allow them to speak their piece on the workings and worries of the National Football League.
  5. I will re-institute touchdown and sack celebrations, so long as they are respectful and don't impede the flow of the game, in order to return a level of fun to the game for players.
  6. I will personally fight for and will not quit until sideline technology is adopted in the NFL on the goal-line, the sidelines, and the back line of the end-zone.
  7. I will regularly meet with owners, players, and the NFLPA to work out a better punishment system for all rules in the NFL, in order to determine a fair punishment that 'fits the crime' for every rule.
  8. I will personally re-construct the "headshot" policy. While I believe Goodell's regime has done amazing things to protect the head of the football players, I believe it is long overdue to address adjustments made by offensive players.
  9. I will personally appoint a group to work with NFL Referees in order to prevent game-changing calls being made. Players and fans should not see this game tainted by human error on behalf of officials when technology allows us to get it right every single time. Big fouls and turnovers that need to be seen again should not be seen just by the referees' eyes, but should be addressed so players are not harshly penalized and/or fined for a mistake they may not have made.
  10. I will mandate that a referee be appointed to watch the offensive line on every play. Too often we have seen horrible holding calls avoided in this league. The clothesline and neck-lock technique when beat on the edge is a dangerous penalty that can result in severe injury for the defensive player, and there is no place in this game for that. This will be enforced as an unnecessary roughness foul as a 15-yard penalty.
These are the things I will personally look to address in the NFL from the very beginning. In addition to these 10 items, I will also look to meet regularly with specialists in a number of fields, particularly to address variables such as concussions and emotional well-being of players.

If Goodell is forced out, please keep me in mind.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Roger Goodell Is In Hot Water

...or on thin ice. Or in hot water on thin ice.

Following the backlash of the Ray Rice situation, many have called for Goodell to answer for how the National Football League reviewed and handled matters in the Ray Rice domestic violence case.

While it was made clear by the New Jersey Attorney General's Office that "It's grand jury material. It would have been improper -- in fact, illegal -- for the Atlantic County Prosecutor's Office to provide (the video) to an outside/private/non law-enforcement entity," many are still calling for Goodell to be transparent now, since he and the NFL weren't before. Others are calling for Goodell to step down altogether.

And in a strange twist, some are even suggesting Goodell abused the authority he was granted in the 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement in which his stipulation to personally oversee all personal conduct matters but advancing the suspension of Ray Rice from 2 games to indefinite.

Roger Goodell did release a statement in a letter to the owners of the NFL's 32 teams. Goodell stressed two very specific points:

First, we did not see video of what took place inside the elevator until it was publicly released on Monday. When the new video evidence became available, we acted promptly and imposed an indefinite suspension on Mr. Rice.
Second, on multiple occasions, we asked the proper law enforcement authorities to share with us all relevant information, including any video of the incident. Those requests were made to different law enforcement entities, including the New Jersey State Police, the Atlantic City Police Department, the Atlantic County Police Department and the Atlantic County Solicitor’s Office. The requests were first made in February following the incident, and were again made following Mr. Rice’s entry into the pre-trial diversion program. None of the law enforcement entities we approached was permitted to provide any video or other investigatory material to us. As is customary in disciplinary cases, the suspension imposed on Mr. Rice in July was based on the information available to us at that time.
Very shortly ago, the Associated Press reported via a source that the NFL did in fact receive a copy of the tape inside of the elevator from a member of law enforcement, contradicting the NFL and Mr. Goodell's stance that the tape was not made available to the NFL. The report also states that there was a confirmation in a call or message from the NFL's offices, an executive to be exact, that the tape was received and that it was horrible.

This is a major hit on Goodell's already shaky public support. The NFL is not backing down from their statement that the offices did not receive the tape or that they were denied the opportunity.

If these reports are true, and Goodell and the NFL did have the video and had seen it, then Goodell will find it difficult to keep trust from the owners and players. It will also raise concerns about Goodell getting it wrong on Rice before, and his sudden change of heart with the rules. The abrupt advancement of Rice's suspension will also be questioned further, as it has been made clear if the report is true that Goodell was more concerned with the public finding out about the tape.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Ray Rice Released, Suspended Indefinitely

Today, September 8, 2014, the entire world was rocked by TMZ's release of camera footage from within the elevator of the Ray Rice domestic violence incident.

The video can be seen after the jump.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

"A New Sniper" - Call of Duty Montage

Like I said, I was going to start messing around on Youtube uploading videos of my gameplay from Call of Duty; I've started. Eventually I'll start adding stuff like Madden gameplay, etc. But for now, I'll stick with Call of Duty as that's the community I'm most intrigued by regarding Youtube.

"A New Sniper" was my first ever attempt at video editing, and it started on Playstation 4's Share Factory. I liked what I had there, initially, and transferred the file over to my laptop, where I edited the transitions a bit using Windows Live Movie Maker, and Sony Vegas Pro 13.0. When I was rendering the final product in Vegas Pro, I was really happy with what I had and thought it was an incredible project (for a starter), so I uploaded it to Youtube, and this is what I had:


As you can see, it looks relatively clean, but the transitions ran too long, and they drowned out the end of the previous clip, where I had initially cut one second after a kill... so too often in my clips, there were kills that just did not show up.

I decided I would just add commentary to a clean version of the video, taking out all of the transitions and just sticking to the clips themselves until I learn how to properly handle transitions. I love my Beats Studio headphones, they're amazing for gaming... but there's a mic installed on one of the stock wires for the headphones and it really is not the best equipment ever. Needless to say, there's still a lot to not like about video editing after attempt 1.5, but I think I have at least a decent presence and some fun clips for those into the Call of Duty online sniping community. Here is the commentary video:


If you can, please head over to my channel and leave a like on the videos and subscribe. Thank you, and don't laugh, people.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Don't Laugh, Youtube?

First of all, I want to thank the DLP community for keeping up with the site even though we haven't been too active recently. It says a lot that we've actually seen an increase in viewers even though we haven't been keeping up with posting. All of my writers and myself have been busy elsewhere, or just not too interested in blogging, and I even asked in advance if anyone wanted a platform to write.

I am hoping to get back into posting here, especially now that I have a desire in a new hobby... POSTING my gaming videos. I have been watching a lot on Youtube recently of Call Of Duty snipers like Pamaj & the FaZe guys, and there is a really cool community in that specific area. I feel like I have a good enough base for promotion already, and doing something like that could help that base grow.

Let's keep it real though, I'm not even half as good as those guys are... but I never classified myself as a sniper before. I always played with SMG's and AR's... only occasionally dabbling in sniping for fun and challenges. But in 2012 when Black Ops II came out, I made a real effort towards the final months of playing that heavily to learn how to quickscope and I started getting some cool clips... but I never uploaded anything. When I traded in my PS3 in order to put money towards my PS4, I deleted my files, so I don't have my Black Ops II stuff left, and now that I've started watching these videos, I really regret it.

However, with Ghosts, I've made an even greater effort to step up as a sniper, even with Infinity Ward nerfing [note: that's when they decrease the ability of the guns] the class. I feel like I do pretty good, and now with my focus on watching and learning from these Youtube guys, I'm noticing myself getting even better. So much, in fact, that I've started saving a lot of my content and began doing [beginner] video editing in order to put my clips together. I'm not insecure with my play, and while I know I'm far from as good as most who do it, I know I'm decent, and I'm confident enough that some people will like my clips.

Besides, it's another venture, and hopefully it motivates me to step my game up even more on COD to the point that there's growth all around. I also feel it would be even more beneficial to Don't Laugh, People by helping attract more viewers/subscribers and also hopefully create opportunities for affiliation and sponsorship. I should have my first video up soon, and I will post it here, so I hope when I do, the people who have been dedicated viewers will head on over and watch.

Monday, May 5, 2014

To Mom

Dear Mom,

I chose to do this a day after Mother's Day because no one day should ever define what you mean to me. I have a birthday where my thoughts are with you, not with the years I've lasted on this planet. Because if not for you, my birthday would not be my birthday.

I don't always express my thankfulness or tell you how much you mean to me. I know that you know how I feel about you. Of course, it's always nice to have that recognition. Every single day, I try to compose myself in a way that would make you proud and hopefully let others see that I am the product of a great mother.

I have never asked of you to be anything near what you are. You could have very well been a dead-beat mother who did not care. But you have, for coming up on 27 years, been everything great that you could be, and more, for me and Kenny. Even when times were tough, when things could have been easier on you for you to step back some and be a little less supportive (which we would have understood), you always put all of your effort and love into us.

I wish there was something, anything, that could truly show you how grateful the both of us are. I wish I could do something right now to make sure you never live a day with stress again. I know we're hard to deal with at times. I know you probably get frustrated by us coming to you for support in dumb little things. I'm certain you have considered, at least once, taking a long vacation away from us if you had the means. Or maybe you haven't... I'm sure, I know, I'm certain you haven't... because you've always done more than your best for us.

All I can tell you is I'm truly appreciative of everything you do, big or small. I admire your work ethic and your unwavering strength. I'm forever grateful for your support, your dedication, and your love. I know Kenny is as well.

Thank you for giving us a life, and doing whatever you could to make sure we got to live it more than well enough so far.


With all the love and thanks in our hearts, Happy Mother's Day,

Sean & Kenny