The Skins Are Still One Long Ongoing Con Job

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Drew Magary’s Thursday Afternoon NFL Dick Joke Jamboroo runs every Thursday during the NFL season. Email Drew here.

Kirk Cousins is starting against Tampa Bay on Sunday and, if he continues being Kirk Cousins, he will likely end up throwing two picks and then finally be benched by head coach and wind analyst Jay Gruden. And when that happens, Gruden’s career in Washington will be all but over. For any head coach, your career is over the second you agree to take Dan Snyder’s money. But even following in the footsteps of comical failures like Steve Spurrier and Jim Zorn and the Shanahii, Gruden stands out as a particularly amusing test dummy because…

  1. He was hired specifically to revive Robert Griffin III’s career.
  2. He turned on RG3 almost immediately and openly murdered him in a postgame presser after losing to these same Bucs.
  3. He all but telegraphed to the front office that he didn’t want Griffin on the team anymore, but the front office tried to make the marriage work for another year anyway, forcing Gruden to start RG3 in the preseason, during which Gruden left RG3 in games too long with a shit O-line and watched him get concussed.
  4. He finally got management to agree to stick with his boy Cousins for a full season…
  5. Only now we know that Cousins is shitty and Gruden’s “offense” doesn’t seem to be much of an offense at all.
  6. And now Gruden may have no choice but to put a spent Griffin back into the lineup anyway.

This is all highly amusing to an outside observer such as myself (watching the Skins fuck up is now, in fact, my core reason for living), but this entire RG3/Cousins affair is indicative of the shady forces that are constantly at play with the Skins. ESPN’s Bomani Jones got the Dead Tree Crew all pissy on Twitter over the past few weeks because he hinted that Cousins might have gotten a longer leash from fans AND Gruden because he’s a white dude. That prompted local radio host and human mountain Thom Loverro to put Jones on blast:

I’m just incensed at this notion that the D.C. media is somehow racially biased in their coverage of the quarterbacks of the Washington Redskins. I mean, this is such pathetic, despicable, disgusting hate-mongering poison that’s put out there by people.

Loverro’s radio station is owned by Dan Snyder, who has long since perfected the art of treating criticism as a form of persecution. Snyder’s ability to exhibit outraged defensiveness anytime he does something assholish (daily, essentially) trickles down through his organization and to his various media outlets. Kirk Cousins is a shitty quarterback. RG3 is ALSO a shitty quarterback. But in Washington, RG3’s shittiness and his vacant personality are considered MORE toxic than Cousins’ run-of-the-mill turnovers and inaccuracy. Just after Loverro shook his cane at Jones, co-host and water-carrier Kevin Sheehan said this:

“it’s become clear that Cousins functions at a much higher level in this offense than Robert Griffin III does”


He does? He turns the fucking ball over all the time! And what offense are we talking about? Why is it so important to have someone who knows such a breathtakingly boring and shitty offense? Congratulations, Kirk Cousins. You know when to throw a bubble screen five yards behind the line of scrimmage. Whoop dee fucking doo.

More from Sheehan:

Now, as to the reasons why Cousins is — yes, is — being treated differently by everyone in this town and it’s not football related, let’s just go to the personal feelings that people have about Griffin and Cousins. Cousins hasn’t made any of the following comments to my knowledge, comments like ‘I know I’m the best quarterback on this team,’ ‘I feel like I’m the best quarterback in the league.’


This is what Jones was talking about! This was EXACTLY his point. RG3 is a dipshit and a brandroid, but then people take a lousy QB like Cousins and say, “Well at least he’s not a GLORY BOY like our other bad QB!” And when that happens, you can easily have race as part of the logic there without it being ALL of the logic. Sheehan is still SELLING Cousins, and that sales job is the core of why the Skins are so fucked up.

For any NFL franchise, players and coaches and even executives are PRODUCT, and the Skins know this perhaps better than any other team. They have been laughably bad for the entirety of this century, and they continue tarping over portions of their stadium because everyone hates watching games there. And yet, they remain one of the most valuable franchises in sports, and that is because they know how to crassly exploit the sizable, eternal bedrock of fans who are dying for ANY sign that they will stop tripping over their own dicks. And since they own a lot of local media outright, they can package and sell new QBs and coaches with whatever pandering strategy they deem appropriate at the moment for their audience.


That’s how you end up with Kirk Cousins. You guys didn’t like RG3 getting hurt a lot and missing open wideouts and being a moron on Instagram and feuding with the Shanahans? WELL BEHOLD! We’ve got him a new coach who is ready to force-fit him into a pro offense! Oh wait! Turns out RG3 can’t play in a pro offense, or at all! Not to worry! Here is a new QB who is terrible but KNOWS THE OFFENSE. And he’s not “uppity!” You can bring him home to your mom, by God! Oh, do you not like how that quarterback is turning the ball over every five seconds? Well, we just brought in a new GM who will build a roster so that we can draft Cade McChase next year and have him succeed right away!


The sales pitch evolves as things go wrong and the Skins have to jump from one shitfire to the next. There’s no actual plan to win in Washington. There is just one long, ongoing, desperate attempt to hang on to a dissatisfied customer base by cynically adapting to the sentiment in the air and attempting to give people whatever they think the people want. If that sales pitch happens to exploit racial tension or reactionary angst or local PRIDE, then so be it. The Skins are a fully realized political entity at this point. You used to like RG3 until you realized he was one of those icon/entertainer types, so now we’re gonna be humble and bad instead of loud and bad!

And, to some extent, it works, if only through the brute force of the NFL’s dominance and Dan Snyder’s near-total dominion over local sports media (even Tony Kornheiser, the most popular radio host in town and self-proclaimed cynic, is buddy-buddy with Snyder and NEVER mentions him on his morning yukfest). Dan Snyder prizes a new stadium more than a Super Bowl victory, and his franchise’s local entrenchment all but assures him of that eventuality so long as his moron team keeps inventing new ways on the fly to tell the world that they have found the key to not being fucking terrible.


Every team in every sport makes moves and tries to sell their fanbase on hope, but the Skins have juiced the process like DFS and created a new, mutated form of endless rebuilding that is almost entirely dependent on mass lies and cheap demographic pandering. And the sad part, if you’re an actual fan of this team, is that they’re FINE with this. The coaching changes and QB controversies and near-constant moments of public humiliation ARE the game plan in Washington. Racial tension works. Churn is good. Churn is smart business. And I hope, for the sake of other fans, that no other franchise in football gets hold of the Snyder blueprint.

The Games

All games in the Jamboroo are evaluated for sheer watchability on a scale of 1 to 5 Throwgasms.


Five Throwgasms

Jets at Patriots: Tom Brady is probably the best ever when it comes to running the quarterback sneak. If he sees free yards in front of him because of the defensive alignment, he’ll snap the ball quickly, wait a beat, find the hole, and then dive through it. Which makes you wonder: Why can’t EVERY quarterback do this? This is not some mythical skill that requires blessed genes. This is basic shit that any other quarterback can and should be able to do. When Joe Flacco runs a sneak, he just mushes himself into the center’s butt and nothing happens. Brady doesn’t deserve to be praised for a simple action that other players should be sensible enough to pull off. Stop making this team look like geniuses, dammit.


Four Throwgasms

Eagles at Panthers: I was watching a game on Sunday and the refs threw a flag for a holding infraction that CLEARLY took place in the end zone. Replay confirmed it over and over. But the refs ruled that the hold started in the field of play (this was not true), and then CBS brought on Mike Carey to explain the call and I swear to you, I don’t know how Mike Carey was ever a ref to begin with. It’s like he’s writing a new rulebook right in front of you. Carey’s explanation was that hold began in the field of play (it did not), and that’s the spot of the foul. And then Trent Green asked, “But Mike, why didn’t the refs throw the flag at the BEGINNING of the play then?” And Carey explained that the refs only throw the flag once the infraction has been completed.


This is complete bullshit. I even checked the official rulebook. There’s nothing there that says, “The ref has to wait until your face mask is pulled clean off to reach into his waistband.” How many times have you seen a side judge reach for his hanky the SECOND he sees a defensive back get a hold of a guy? The fuck is Mike Carey talking about? They may as well bring on my dad to explain the call. He’s just as adept at pulling nonsense out of thin air. “Well see, back in 1988 they had a whole SUMMIT about when and where to throw flags…” Someone get Carey all the Tito’s Vodka that Mike Pereira keeps in his basement freezer.


Three Throwgasms

Browns at Rams: The Browns aren’t very good, and yet I think they might be the most entertaining team in football. They’ll keep it tight against Denver and then, as if that isn’t enough, have their backup QB get into a drunken car fight. God bless them, they’re doing their best to give Cleveland some value for watching a 6-10 team. Maybe we can give them an Emmy this year or something.


Saints at Colts: I remember practicing that swinging gate play back in high school. The coach would line us up on a Friday to practice it as a goof. All the players would be like, “What the fuck is this?” and then laugh and then the play would NEVER be used. You aren’t supposed to use it. That’s like taking a burp outtake from a film shoot and making it the final scene.

Raiders at Chargers: My friend who is a Chargers fan noted that if you have a weak-armed QB like Philip Rivers or Alex Smith, your red zone offense will be terrible because the condensed field makes it harder for a QB like Rivers to uncork his usual eephus pass. You can get away with that at midfield, but once the play area shrinks and you have to needle the ball through packs of defenders, you’re screwed. This is why arm steroids need to be legalized.


Two Throwgasms

Bills at Jaguars (London): This is the Yahoo game, which means you stream it online for FREE at 9 a.m. Sunday morning while you shit out the rest of that Moe’s burrito you ate at 3 a.m. Someone at the NFL has figured out that football makes for perfect ambient viewing. You put it on and leave it on, and then pay attention as necessary. You don’t have to watch ALL of Jags/Bills, and indeed no one will, but you can check in on it, as you would a study hall full of unruly children. One day they’re gonna display live NFL games on a continuous loop and project them onto the sides of buildings and they’ll just be there, like infrastructure. You won’t even ask for it. There will be football in front of you whether you like it or not.


Vikings at Lions: I like Teddy Bridgewater, but he’s on pace to throw 10 touchdown passes this season. That’s it. I know his line is garbage and watching Norv Turner coach is like watching one long Chuck Pagano swinging gate play, but still: 10 measly-ass touchdown passes. Eight quarterbacks have already thrown that many, including Bridgewater’s draftmate, Blake Bortles. Christian Ponder threw for more touchdowns in his first two seasons. I’m gonna go punch a rock now. God dammit. TAKE OFF THE HAMBURGER HELPER GLOVES AND THROW MORE TOUCHDOWNS, MAN.

Seahawks at 49ers: One of the reasons Golden Tate was awarded a touchdown by refs last week against the Bears was because he remained on his feet, and the current rules (if there are any) about catching the ball vary depending on if you go to the ground or not. If you go to the ground, you have to control the ball as you land, and as you roll around on the ground, and as you get back up and go watch a movie. Drop the ball anywhere in that sequence and it’s not a catch, which is INSANE. Why is a falling wideout subject to harsher catch standards than some asshole who’s just standing there? It makes no sense.


Steelers at Chiefs: I make a lot of terrible preseason predictions, but I am most ashamed of thinking the Chiefs would ever be good. They’re genuinely terrible. We got to the “utterly helpless” stage of the Andy Reid cycle far too quickly. Usually, you get a disastrous championship game appearance in there before everything goes to shit.

Texans at Dolphins: I wanna meet the wardrobe stylist who outfitted the FanDuel hoodie bro. Because you know there were a lot of meetings about just what kind of hoodie the ideal DFS bro would wear while GETTIN’ SOME. “He’s gotta have stubble. There’s no way that our customers are motivated enough to shave every morning. Let’s give him stubble, and a blank t-shirt, and the greyest hoodie possible, to really hammer home the sadness.”


By the way, I won a head-to-head matchup against our own Barry Petchesky last week. SUCK IT, BARRY. I AM THE REAL DRAFTKING NOW. For a $2 bet, I took home $3.60. My DFS provider took 40 cents off the top for the vigorish. FUCKING EMBEZZLEMENT. I want Congressional hearings.

Falcons at Titans: Mike Lupica is ghostwriting the Bob Costas autobiography, which means the book will be penned by a combined six feet worth of human. If you try hard enough, you can hear Lupica’s nasal whine merge with Costas’s buttery hectoring to form the perfect baseball purist voice. You were there when Kirk saved the Dodgers in one leg, and you thought to yourself, “I wish I could be that brave on my own two feet.”


Cowboys at Giants: Somewhere in Eastern Europe, someone is flicking a random light switch that they believe does nothing but, in fact, exerts complete and total control over how well the Giants play football. Whenever Horst flicks it up, they look like a playoff team. But when Horst flicks it down? ELI DERP COUGHLIN HANDS ON HIPS.

Ravens at Cardinals: The Ravens have never had a losing season under John Harbaugh and you can tell that Harbaugh is confused and baffled by the mere idea of coaching a shitty team. He looks like me after my flight’s been canceled. “What do you mean, we can’t play defense? Well why the fuck not?! YOU GET BACK OUT THERE AND FIX THAT THING THAT’S GOING ON.” It’s been a pleasure to watch unfold.


One Throwgasm

Bucs at Skins: I hate the Skins so much that I will actively root for Jameis here. This is your one sympathetic moment, Jameis. Don’t blow it with any of your stupid fumbles. It’s like the man has crab legs for HANDS.


Pregame Song That Makes Me Want To Run Through A Goddamn Brick Wall

“Slider,” by the Copyrights, as submitted by Luke. The nice thing about this song is that it clocks in at under two minutes. More songs should be under two minutes long. You get the verse, then the chorus, then the verse and the chorus one more time, and then you get the fuck out. Everything else is padding. Everything else you added on top because you needed to fulfill the standard album running time. “Never Talking to You Again” is under two minutes. “Abra Cadaver” is under two minutes. You can accomplish a LOT in under two minutes. If every Bruce Springsteen song was under two minutes, it would be much more efficient. I wouldn’t have to hear about Tommy getting laid off at the toothpaste factory.


Suicide Pick Of The Week

Last week’s suicide picks of Denver, the Jets, and Tennessee went 2-1, making me 11-7 on the season. Again, we now pick three teams for your suicide pool, along with one thing that makes me want to commit suicide. This week, the picks are the Giants, San Diego, Buffalo, and overhead bag specs. Every airport gate is packed with middle-aged people like me suffering from severe overhead bin angst. Will there be enough overhead space? Oh God, I’m in Group 4. Are they gonna try to force-check every fucking bag from Group 4? Anyway, every gate has that suitcase fitter nearby to see if you bag “fits” in the overhead bin, and the allotted rectangle is usually the size of a napkin. WTF, airlines. Your bins are ample and roomy. Don’t go telling me that a rollerboard won’t fit in there if it’s bigger than a Cheez-Its box. I’M SICK OF YOUR LIES.


(breezes by gate agent with a pack of downhill skis)

Gregg Easterbrook Memorial Haughty Dipshit Of The Week


We may as well pay tribute here to America’s original haughty dipshit, Bill Kristol, who tweeted this earlier in the week:


Keep in mind that this man helped push America into two separate wars this century. Good to know my nation’s foreign policy was in the hands of a Palpatine fanboy. THOSE REBELS WERE JUST LOOKING FOR A HANDOUT. And they liked hiding in the woods! That’s terrorist stuff imho.

I honestly can’t believe I live in a world where fartsniffers like Kristol and Tom Friedman still manage to flourish. Why haven’t these men been dropped down a manhole? Who keeps giving them money? I have no faith in anything.


Emmitt Smith’s Lock Of The Week!


“This week, I like the New York Gents (+9) to go into Fucksbro and STUNT the Paytreats! I love what Toad Bowels is doing with this team. Bowels wants to HURT you. Bowels wants to ATTACK you. Bowels won’t let up until have finally SUMMITED. I respect that. And to think about the university this team has ownercome! Remember when Geno Schmitt got knocked out by IP Freely? STRAIGHT UP CUCKOLDED HIM! And yet, Bowels never wavered. Bowels didn’t allow any more leaks in that locker room. I tip my crap to him!

2014 Emmitt Smith record: 4-5

Fantasy Player Who Deserves To Die A Slow, Painful Death

Eddie Lacy. This is all Mike McCarthy’s doing. There’s nothing wrong with Eddie Lacy. His dingbat coach just decided, on a whim, DURRRR LET’S RUN STARKS TOO WHY NOT DURRRR and presto! An entire fantasy season has been ruined. It’s not right. Green Bay is gonna make the Super Bowl and then blow it because Mike McCarthy decided to run 50 straight swinging gate plays. Using a ballboy.


Fire This Asshole!

Is there anything more exciting than a coach losing his job? All year long, we’ll keep track of which coaches will almost certainly get fired at year’s end or sooner. And now, your potential 2015 chopping block:

Joe Philbin - FIRED!

Chip Kelly

Gus Bradley

Tom Coughlin

Mike Pettine

Chuck Pagano*

Jim Caldwell

Mike McCoy

Jim Tomsula

Jeff Fisher

Andy Reid

Rex Ryan

Jay Gruden

Given what we now know about Buffalo fans, I think they’ll be fine with Rex Ryan being his usual mediocre self so long as he agrees to be choke-slammed through a tailgate table twice a year. Rex would do it. If ANY coach has practiced extreme backyard wrestling moves in his adult life, it’s Rex.


Great Moments In Poop History

Reader Brandon sends in this story I call THE SOUND OF POOP:

Several years ago my friend and I traveled to Europe for a backpacking trip. We had reached the last stop on our journey, Interlaken Switzerland, and had decided to indulge our inner adventurer by going canyoning in the Alps. For those unaware what canyoning is, it involves shimmying into a wetsuit, life jacket, and helmet, and traversing through a river canyon for the better part of 5 hours. Along the way you’ll encounter 20 to 30 foot jumps into freezing water, sheer cliff faces to rappel down, and natural rock slides to tumble down. Needless to say, it can be an exhilarating experience.

After a hard night of boozing at the hostel we were staying at, my friend and I loaded into a van with about 10 others to make the roughly two hour trek into the mountains. Along the way, we stopped at a local bakery for breakfast and, seeing as I hadn’t eaten in over 12 hours and had a nasty hangover to satiate, I ordered a sizable ham and cheese quiche. I quickly devoured the delectable pastry and we hopped back in the van to complete our trip to the top of the mountain.

We arrived at the beginning of the river bed that we would be heading into and suited up. It took me about 10 minutes to wriggle into the wet suit, but I finally got it zipped up and we were off on our expedition. Less than an hour into our trip though, I started feeling some strange rumbles in my stomach that only intensified with each jump that we reached. Clearly, that quiche was having its revenge. This was going to be a long afternoon.

With the pain reaching an apex that I could no longer stand, I tried to subtly ask our guide what people in my predicament normally do. With considerably less tact than I had hoped for, he broke into raucous laughter and shrugged. We were only halfway through our tour at this point and I would either have to hold it (not an option) or make use of the “facilities” that surrounded us.

The doomsday scenario was of course, releasing my bowels in my wet suit. No matter what, I could not allow this to happen and, with the dam about to break, I finally gave up any dignity that was remaining and scrambled out of the river bed, sprinting to the side of a cliff behind a tree. Sweat was pouring down my face as I meticulously tried to get out of my wet suit, which, now that it was wet, was proving to be even more difficult than it was to put on. With seconds to spare I stepped out of it and, completely naked, aimed my ass off the cliff, whistling in the wind.

For a solid 2 minutes straight, shit sprayed over the side of the cliff, probably onto some fucking squirrel’s head down below. I’m pretty sure I let out some kind of feral scream during this that probably sounded like a mountain lion having sex with an elk. Damn that quiche. Damn that quiche to hell!

Finishing the deed, I did my best to wipe my ass with my boxers and promptly discarded them to the side, for them to serve as a kind of monument to the atrocity that had just taken place here. As I returned to the river bed, to my horror, I saw everyone in our party was waiting at the bottom of the jump for me. They all broke out into insane laughter and applause, reveling in my misery. With a sheepish grin, all I could do was take a bow and belly flop into the frigid waters below. If I’m ever in Switzerland again, I’m NEVER eating another fucking quiche, as long as I live.


Maybe a quiche is just too much dairy in one pie for your system.

Gametime Snack Of The Week


QUICHE! Why not? I actually had an aversion to quiche ever since childhood, when I once took a bite of one thinking it was pie and learning that it was quite the opposite. There are few worse feelings than expecting something to be sweet and getting something saltier than ocean brine instead.

Anyway, my mom bought some mushroom quiche the other day and, because I am a good boy, I tried it and ended up enjoying it. I don’t know why quiche has the reputation of a lightweight food (“Real men don’t eat quiche,” etc.) when it’s eggs and cheese all stuffed into a pie crust. It’s basically something McDonald’s would invent if it hadn’t existed yet. I’m surprised they don’t sell pork quiche pockets.


Gametime Cheap Beer Of The Week


Kalnapilis! From Olaf!

My friend just brought this back. $1.29 per pint in Chicago for this fine Lithuainian import. On the left side you’ll notice the required government warnings stickered on the can. That lets you know there’s no English native to this work of art. It’s really not bad.


I’d drink that beer. Lithuanians seem like people who drink a lot, so I trust them implicitly with my insides. I also like that the can says MAGNUM HOPS. Those must be big hops! No puny loser hops for Kalnapilis. I MUST HAVE BIG HOPS.

Jim Tomsula’s Lifehack Of The Week!

“Anything can be a bed if you’re tired enough. Like a bush. At 4 a.m., a bush can be pretty great.”


Sunday Afternoon Movie Of The Week For Ravens Fans

Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which is not out yet, but whatever. I’m not seeing ANY more movies until I see this movie. I need a clean palate. Can’t have lingering Bond flavors in my brain when this finally comes out.


I bought my tickets for opening night and all the nearby IMAX screens were either sold out or had tech issues, so I just bought tickets for a normal showing. No 3D. No Imax. Just a plain movie theater. And I was upset about this until I went full contrarian and told myself that you SHOULD watch this on a regular movie screen. IT’S GONNA BE JUST LIKE 1977. You saps watching it in perfect surround sound on the side of Uluru don’t get it, man. You won’t FEEL the nostalgia the way I will! SUCK MY LIGHTSABER.

Gratuitous Simpsons Quote

“Give us something we like or we’ll ride you out of town on a rail!”

Enjoy the games, everyone.