Bos­ton win leaves team feel­ing good

The Washington Times Daily - - Weather - BY STEPHEN WHYNO

Once upon a time, the Washington Red­skins were one of the NFL’S flag­ships, fill­ing the sta­dium ev­ery Sun­day and go­ing to the Su­per Bowl with reg­u­lar­ity. They were a model or­ga­ni­za­tion, what other fran­chises as­pired to be. That’s changed in re­cent years, and we don’t need to plunge into an­other dis­cus­sion here of it’s changed. We’ve all got a pretty good han­dle on that, don’t we?

The Camelot of the 1971-to-’92 pe­riod — of Ge­orge Allen, Joe Gibbs, the Over the Hill Gang and the Hogs — might never be seen again in Washington. In­deed, it was so long ago, it al­most seems like a hal­lu­ci­na­tion. The Red­skins’ bun­gled at­tempts to re­turn to those days have turned them into a league laugh­ing­stock, a late-night punch line, the an­tithe­sis of what they used to rep­re­sent. And now they’ve hurled an­other “Hail Mary” with their me­ga­trade for the sec­ond pick in the draft, one that’s ex­pected to se­cure them the ser­vices of Robert Grif­fin III, the Heis­man Tro­phy-win­ning quar­ter­back from Bay­lor.

But this des­per­a­tion pass ac­tu­ally might have a chance of be­ing com­pleted. Grif­fin — whip-armed, ath­letic, smart, charis­matic — looks to be the gen­uine ar­ti­cle, the kind of QB who could re­turn the Red­skins to the gated com­mu­nity of the Haves. Of course, they had to empty their wal­lets to make this deal, hand the St. Louis Rams three No. 1 picks and a No. 2, and some have been hor­ri­fied by that. But most of them, I’m con­vinced, are just vic­tims of Bat­tered Fan Syn­drome. They’ve got­ten so ac­cus­tomed to the team mak­ing head-slap­pingly bad de­ci­sions that they don’t rec­og­nize a good one when they see it.

These same gloom-and-doomers will tell you the Red­skins are un­der tremen­dous pres­sure to be right about Grif­fin (and that RG3 will bear an equally heavy bur­den as the anointed sav­ior of the fran­chise). But to me, the Rams and the In­di­anapo­lis Colts are un­der just as much pres­sure. St. Louis, af­ter all, the chance to draft Grif­fin, feel­ing it was set at quar­ter­back with Sam Brad­ford; and Indy, with the first pick, ap­pears to pre­fer QB, Stan­ford’s An­drew Luck.

But what if Grif­fin turns out to be bet­ter than Brad­ford and/or Luck, per­haps even bet­ter? What if RG3 out­du­els Sam in the NFC ti­tle game or An­drew in the Su­per Bowl? Do you think the Rams and Colts might spend a few mo­ments re­vis­it­ing their decision to pass up Robert Grif­fin III?

As his­tory has shown, over and over again, the first quar­ter­back drafted isn’t nec­es­sar­ily the best quar­ter­back. Alex Smith was taken with the first pick in 2005, but he hasn’t been nearly as good as Aaron Rodgers, who went 24th. Michael Vick (1) and Drew Brees (32), Chad Pen­ning­ton (18) and Tom Brady (199), and Tim Couch (1) and Dono­van Mcnabb (2) are three other ex-

It’s the worst-kept se­cret in the NHL that the Washington Cap­i­tals aren’t a good road team. Even as play­ers shook off con­cerns about lack­ing a recipe for suc­cess away from Ver­i­zon Cen­ter, the num­bers and list­less, lack­lus­ter per­for­mances told the story.

Then came Satur­day, when the Caps man­aged to au­thor their sig­na­ture road win of the sea­son by go­ing into TD Gar­den and knock­ing off the Bos­ton Bru­ins.

“We haven’t been great on the road,” CAP­I­TALS AT N.Y. IS­LAN­DERS Tues­day: TV: Ra­dio:

when he pitches Mon­day.

Man­ager Davey John­son said ear­lier this spring that af­ter two turns through, he might re­veal his ro­ta­tion or­der. While Stephen Stras­burg may be the Open­ing Day starter most ex­pect, John­son didn’t shoot down the idea that Gon­za­lez could be the one get­ting the ball April 5 in Chicago.

“He’s prob­a­bly a can­di­date,” John­son said. “He’s prob­a­bly the only one who’s been an Al­lS­tar, and, with the ex­cep­tion of Chien-ming Wang, he’s the only one who’s been nudg­ing 20 wins a cou­ple years in the big leagues.”

Ed­win Jack­son, too, was an All-star dur­ing the 2009 sea­son with Detroit, though he projects as Washington’s No. 4 starter.

For Gon­za­lez, who may get the nod partly be­cause of the way the Na­tion­als could set up the sched­ule for Stras­burg in his first full sea­son back from Tommy John surgery, it would be his first Open­ing Day as­sign­ment in the ma­jors .

“Oooh,” he said, when asked what it would mean to him to draw that duty. “That’s tough. I think that ev­ery­one there has earned their stripes to be there at the top of the ro­ta­tion. Give me the ball, I’m ready to go. Any­where in that ro­ta­tion, I want to pitch, but I don’t look that far ahead.”

In the short term, the Na­tion­als have been strong on both ends of the ro­ta­tion. While John Lan­nan was pitch­ing in Lake­land, Fla., on Satur­day, Wang im­pressed the coaches in his two in­nings against the New York Mets at Space Coast Sta­dium, hit­ting 88 to 91 mph on the radar gun with a good sinker.

Hours be­fore rain would en­sure Gon­za­lez got his work but not much else Sun­day, John­son sat in the dugout and tried to de­flect ques­tions about defin­ing ei­ther end of his ro­ta­tion.

“Let’s put that off an­other day,” he said. “We haven’t even gone through the ro­ta­tion twice and you want an Open­ing Day starter? Fifth starter? . . . It’s fun to have con­jec­ture, but I’m ex­pe­ri­enced enough in this job to know that [the pitch­ers] will de­cide [with their per­for­mance.]”

NOTES: Out­fielder Michael Morse re­ceived a cor­ti­sone shot Satur­day to help ease the right lat strain he’s been deal­ing with the past few days. Morse did not be­gin his sched­uled throw­ing pro­gram Satur­day. He could see some time at des­ig­nated hit­ter this week.

Bryce Harper also is not ex­pected to be in the lineup Mon­day with his tight left calf pro­hibit­ing from go­ing through a full work­out and run­ning test.

Out­fielder Xavier Paul was given a leave of ab­sence from camp for per­sonal rea­sons.


Mathieu Per­reault cel­e­brates scor­ing a goal with team­mate Alexan­der Semin dur­ing Sun­day’s 2-0 win over Toronto. Re­cap, anal­y­sis:

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