Monday, April 29, 2013

RG3 Trademark Dispute

Photo: Washington Post
   In 1998, a motorcycle suspension parts business was founded. The basis of the company is to sell parts and services to professional and amateur riders. Rob Henricksen, the founder, came up with the name Research Group 3 for his company. This name has long been known by the initials of "RG3," however. Now think about football in this case. Notice anything familiar? Franchise quarterback Robert Griffin III also has the nickname of "RG3," which means there is a problem.
   As Robert Griffin III was transitioning from a college star into a professional starter in the NFL, he made sure to protect his brand by filing paperwork with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to trademark the phrases "RGIII" and "RG3" for use on all apparel. Henricksen is now filing an extension of time with the Trademark Office to oppose both of Griffin III's filings.
   "We don't want to have any confusion in the marketplace, and we're sure he doesn't, either," said Catherine Holland, an intellectual property lawyer who is representing the company. She also says that the company is not trying to profit from the quarterback and wishes him the best in his career.
   The situation is quite complicated and could get very sticky. To any football fan, especially living in the DC area, the phrase "RG3" means only one thing; Robert Griffin III — not a suspension parts company. Hopefully a settlement will be reached between the two parties very soon.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

2013 NFL Draft Recap

   Now that the 2013 NFL draft has come and gone, only time will tell if the selections the Redskins made will pan out. On paper, nearly all of the players look good and have a legitimate shot at making the roster. 
   With their first pick, coming in the second round, the reigning NFC East champions addressed a position of need. They picked up defensive back David Amerson from North Carolina State. He possesses the size and physicality to be a starting NFL cornerback. His speed will certainly be a welcomed asset to the current secondary that gets burned by players such as Victor Cruz. Some analysts believe he may be too much of a gambler on the field, however. In 2011, he recorded a whopping 13 interceptions to lead all college players. The following year, his interception total fell to five as he tried to chase his high expectations. Regardless, those numbers are better than any of the Redskins' defensive players and he should make an impact for them right away.
   Most fans expected the third-round selection to be a safety or right tackle. Mike Shanahan does not base his decisions on what the fans think, however. Instead, he went with Jordan Reed, a tight end out of Florida. This is not a position of need for the team, but Reed must have been ranked high on Shanahan's draft board. Reed led his team in receiving with 45 catches for 559 yards last season. Depending on how Fred Davis plays in his contract year, Reed might get an opportunity to show off his pass-catching ability. Perhaps he is the future tight end of this organization.
Photo: Washington Post
   Safety had the biggest question mark coming into the draft, and that question did not go unanswered. The team was very fortunate to have Phillip Thomas fall into their laps in the fourth round. He was projected to go in the second or third round. On April 10, he had visited Redskins Park, which had many fans speculating he may be wearing a burgundy and gold uniform someday. Thomas led the nation in picks last season with eight. Growing up, he was a Redskins fan after watching their games on television. His favorite player was Sean Taylor, and he hopes that he can fill the shoes of a Pro Bowler like Taylor.
   With the 154th overall pick, the team selected speedy running back Chris Thompson of Florida State in the fifth round. Thompson dealt with injuries throughout his college years, playing only five games as a junior and eight games as a senior. However, when healthy, he is an explosive player that can catch the ball out of the backfield. When asked about where Thompson could fit, Shanahan said, "He could be that third down back. He's got great hands. He's got great elusiveness. He's the type of guy who can do it all." For a late-round pick, Thompson could have great reward.
   After taking one Florida State player in the fifth, the team decided to add another in the same round with outside linebacker/defensive end Brandon Jenkins. Like his fellow Seminole mentioned above, he too will have to prove his health as he is coming off a season-ending injury. Through 40 games, he made 22.5 sacks, which could help improve Washington's pass-rushing depth.
   Apparently landing a talented ball-hawking safety in the fourth round was not enough to satisfy Shanahan's draft appetite. Luckily for him, Bacarri Rambo was sitting there in the sixth round. Rambo is a natural playmaker and has lots of potential to be a star for this team. His numbers were good; recording 235 tackles and 16 interceptions at Georgia. His draft stock plummeted due to previous drug-related suspensions at school. However, after conducting an extensive background check, Shanahan said he feels comfortable with him. Rambo described his long wait by saying, "I was sitting here, praying, asking God to give me one team that liked me, and the Redskins called. It's just a blessed moment and I just thank the organization for believing in me."
   Washington used their last selection in the 2013 NFL draft by taking another running back in Jawan Jamison of Rutgers. He has yet to be told exactly how he will be utilized, but he is expected to compete with the other backups on the team. Jamison is not the quickest guy, but if he does not find a place on the roster, at least he was only a seventh-round choice.
   Besides the obvious impact of Robert Griffin III and Alfred Morris from last year's draft class, this most recent draft could be the best since Shanahan and Bruce Allen took over the regime. Every position of need was attended to besides the offensive line. No one should have to worry about either safety position anymore now that two highly talented ball hawks were selected. Shanahan has stressed the importance of turnovers since he got here, and he explained that usually the team to excel in turnovers, wins championships. Again, time will tell if these athletes are studs or duds.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Draft Decisions

Photo: Washington Post
   Who the Redskins choose with the 51st overall pick in the 2013 NFL draft is anyone's guess. They lack a first-round pick due to the blockbuster deal they made with the St. Louis Rams to acquire Robert Griffin III. While nobody can really argue with the outcome, it still hurts a bit to watch round one of the draft and not see Washington's name on the clock.
   Luckily for the fans and the organization, Mike Shanahan and Bruce Allen are not amateurs at finding talent in the draft. In fact, Shanahan is known for picking diamonds in the rough out of the later rounds. Last year is a great example of this when they chose running back Alfred Morris in the sixth round. Morris was a candidate for Rookie of the Year and finished second in the league in rushing yards and touchdowns. Now the front office needs to work their magic again in this year's draft.
   So, what position should they consider? The response to this question is almost always unanimous; defensive back. Let's take a look at the cornerback position first. Washington brought back DeAngelo Hall while also signing E.J. Biggers to the group. There have been reports recently that the team has interest in adding Quentin Jammer to that mix as well. However, none of those players are elite defensive backs, which leaves the team room for improvement at this position.
   Jamar Taylor out of Boise State could be an option if he is still available at 51. He had a strong senior year and impressed scouts at the combine. The only real issue with him is his smaller size and fairly short arms. Still, he has potential to be a long-term starter in the NFL with his physical traits.
   Now let's consider the safety position with the Redskins. Ever since the passing of Sean Taylor in 2007, the team has been in desperate need of another playmaker. Fortunately for them, the quality of talent and depth in this year's draft is strong. NFL Network draft analyst was quoted as saying, "It's a great safety class — best safety class I've seen in years."
   Florida International safety Jonathan Cyprien would be an instant starter for just about any team. Cyprien is the complete package with his speed, natural instincts, strength, and big-play ability. He just happens to still be available after not getting drafted on the first day. Perhaps the Redskins will trade up to get him because of his superb talent. He has too much upside to roll the dice on and hope he falls into their laps at the 51st pick.
   Shanahan and Allen will take the best player available at any position, but hopefully that player ends up being a starter in the secondary unit this upcoming season.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Chris Cooley: A True Redskin

   While tight end Chris Cooley once again finds himself no longer on the Washington Redskins roster, he still speaks highly of the team and participates in charitable work sponsored by the organization. His latest involvement in the community was reading to students at Glenridge Elementary School.
   Cooley was interviewed by different reporters at the elementary school. He discussed his off-season as a free agent and the non-football related opportunities that are in front of him.
   He recently spent a month back home in Wyoming doing carpentry in his house, building a shower and making concrete countertops. In addition to that, he stays busy with his art gallery, appropriately named The Cooley Gallery, located in historic Leesburg, VA. An upcoming event at his store is to help out Friends of Homeless Animals (FOHA). Cooley is making 400 ceramic dog bowls and donating them to the foundation.
   When asked what he will do if another team of interest calls him, Cooley replied, "They're not" he said with a laugh. "Whatever, I have an agent, I know what's going on in the world," he said. There is no doubt he truly wants to play for the Redskins this coming season, but if they do not contact him about a return, that is fine with him as well. "I don't want to play for another team," he said. Cooley went on to explain that he will always be a part of the Redskins because he is part of the community from the way people embraced him as a player.
   Cooley said he has a million other things he could do, including some TV involvement or even the possibility of getting some cows and farming on his 600 acres in Wyoming. Regardless of what comes his way, he has a great career to look back on, and that is something to be proud of.

Chris Cooley Reads to Third Graders

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Redskins Free Agency: The Good and Bad

   The past two seasons, the Washington Redskins have been penalized for the way they structured certain contracts in 2010 when there was no salary cap for the NFL. The penalty imposed by the league and the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) was a $36 million reduction over the span of two years. 
   The team went to court last year and challenged the cap penalty, but in the end, the case was dismissed and the ruling stood. One person involved in the ruling just happens to be the owner of the New York Giants (one of the Redskins' division rivals) and to no surprise, he voted in favor of the punishment. In fact, he said, "What they did was in violation of the spirit of the salary cap. They attempted to take advantage of a one-year loophole, and quite frankly, I think they're lucky they didn't lose draft picks."
   All hope should not be lost though. The organization was able to bring back almost all of their own free agents that helped contribute to their playoff run and NFC East title last season. One of the only key losses was letting linebacker and special teams extraordinaire Lorenzo Alexander sign with the Arizona Cardinals for more money.
   According to, if next year's cap remains to be $123 million, the Redskins have about $80 million committed to that figure. That would leave them with $43 million to spend next season on bolstering the talent on the roster. To put that number into perspective, they began this current offseason about $3 million over the salary cap. Therefore, they were already in the hole before the start of free agency in 2013.
   On one hand it could potentially mean they go back to their old ways of spending money left and right. The other option is they will continue to be smart and spend wisely without offering bloated contracts. Perhaps in the end, this will be a valuable (no pun intended) lesson for the organization. The best way to show the league and the fans that this punishment won't affect their original plan, is to go out and win.