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Mike Shanahan: Super Bowl or bust for Washington Redskins

Elvis-Grbac-Threw-Ball-at-Al-Davis-Because-of-Mike-ShanahanWashington Redskins fans have high expectations for their team heading into the 2013 season. Robert Griffin III is coming back from the second major knee surgery of his career, but he claims he is healthy and ahead of schedule in his rehab. And Mike Shanahan shares the same opinion as the fans.

“(The players) have set the expectations,” Shanahan said earlier this week, via the team’s official Twitter account. “Coaches coach, players play and together all of us can win championships and that’s what we plan to do. We have a team that you’re going to be proud of.”

The Redskins reached that playoffs last year in RG3’s first season as the team’s quarterback, so there is plenty of reason for optimism. A healthy Griffin brings stability to the most important position on the field. Should he struggle to regain his 2012 form or go down with another injury, Washington could become just another mediocre team.

Some would argue that Griffin should take a more conservative approach this season and become more of a pocket passer, but that is not his game. He has the ability to make throws, but he recently made it clear that he still intends to take off if the defense is giving him space.

The Redskins should probably focus on winning the NFC East and getting back to the playoffs before thinking Super Bowl, but every team has the same goal — to win a championship. There’s nothing wrong with Shanahan preaching that given the improvements his team has made since last year’s 10-6 campaign.

H/T Pro Football Talk

Introducing the Robert Griffin/Native American combo shirt that should not exist

Washington Redskins helmetThe Washington Redskins have faced an increasing amount of scrutiny over the past few years over the name of their franchise. Several members of Congress recently wrote the team a letter asking that the name Redskins be dropped in favor of something less offensive. However, it doesn’t appear that the Snyder family and the NFL intend to change the name anytime soon.

Perhaps the members of Congress who wrote the letter should turn their attention to a T-shirt that was recently spotted in Ocean City, Maryland. If nothing else, the shirt is offensive because of how incredibly ridiculous it is.

No matter how hard you try, you can’t unsee that. Has anyone actually purchased this shirt? For the love of God, I hope not.

Redskins struggle to identify Bryce Harper; Alfred Morris thought he was Tom Brady

Bryce Harper NationalsAssuming many Washington Redskins fans are also supporters of the Washington Nationals, it’s probably safe to assume that many — if not most — of them would be able to identify Bryce Harper. The 20-year-old outfielder is the future of the Nationals franchise and one of the best young players in the game, but many of the Redskins players have apparently ignored his Under Armour ads.

According to Kevin Jones of WUSA 9, several Redskins players were unable to identify Harper when shown a picture of him (without his uniform on, of course) during training camp recently. Guys like running back Roy Helu, linebacker Rob Jackson, receivers Aldrick Robinson, Devery Henderson, Leonard Hankerson and others literally had no idea who Harper was. But running back Alfred Morris had the funniest reaction.

“Is that Tom Brady?” Morris asked when shown the picture.

The hair may be similar, but there’s no way an NFL player would not know that a person he was looking at isn’t Brady, right?

Linebacker Brandon Jenkins, who was close to being able to identify Harper, also had an entertaining response.

“Oh that’s the dude that was in the home run derby!” he said. “What’s his name?”

Some of the Redskins, including Pierre Garcon, Logan Paulsen and Jarvis Jenkins, were up on their local baseball knowledge and knew it was Bryce. The others must just be focusing harder on football. Yeah, we’ll go with that.

H/T Dan Steinberg

Roger Goodell defends Washington Redskins name in letter to Congress

Washington Redskins helmetNFL commissioner Roger Goodell defended the Washington Redskins team name in a recent letter he wrote to Congress, which was revealed to the public on Tuesday. As you know, the Redskins name has garnered a lot of attention over the past year or so as some consider “redskin” to be a racist term. Goodell’s letter was in response to several members of Congress writing him to request that the name be changed.

In the letter, Goodell argued that the nickname was never meant to “denigrate Native Americans or offend any group.” He also included research polls claiming that there are many Native Americans who do not find the name offensive. Despite his argument, Goodell was still ripped by co-chair of the Congressional Native American Caucus Betty McCollum, who said he used “twisted logic.”

“Goodell’s letter is another attempt to justify a racial slur on behalf of [Redskins owner] Dan Snyder and other NFL owners who appear to be only concerned with earning even larger profits, even if it means exploiting a racist stereotype of Native Americans,” McCollum said. “Would Roger Goodell and Dan Snyder actually travel to a Native American community and greet a group of tribal leaders by saying, ‘Hey, what’s up redskin?’ I think not.”

Snyder insisted last month that his franchise is never going to change its nickname, but eventually it will become impossible to ignore the outrage. Very few deny that “redskin” is a racist term, and clearly Goodell’s letter did little to help the team’s cause. It may take a while, but the NFL is eventually going to get backed into a corner it can’t get out of.

Washington Redskins owner: We will never change team nickname

Washington Redskins helmetThe Washington Redskins are frequently criticized for their offensive nickname. There has been discussion over the years about the Redskins changing their name. Many teams have been pressured to change their offensive logos and/or nicknames, including another team from the DC — the Washington Bullets, which converted to the Washington Wizards in 1997. But team owner Daniel Snyder says he will never change the team’s nickname, regardless of the scrutiny they face, and regardless of how offensive the nickname is.

“We will never change the name of the team,” Snyder told USA TODAY Sports this week. “As a lifelong Redskins fan, and I think that the Redskins fans understand the great tradition and what it’s all about and what it means, so we feel pretty fortunate to be just working on next season.”

Snyder says he would not even change the team’s nickname if they lose an ongoing federal trademark lawsuit.

“We’ll never change the name,” he said. “It’s that simple. NEVER — you can use caps.”

In March, a group of Native Americans appeared before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board to argue that the “Redskins should lose their federal trademark protection, based on a law that prohibits registered names that disparaging, scandalous, contemptuous or disreputable.”

The Redskins were stripped of the trademark in 1999, but the ruling was overturned in 2003 largely because the courts decided the plaintiffs were too old and should have decided to file suit earlier in their lives. The new suit is from younger people.

There is no denying that the name “Redskins” is offensive. What Snyder has in his favor is tradition and the fervent support of a huge fan base, which includes many politicians.

D.C. Councilman David Grosso thinks Redskins should change name to Redtails

Washington-Redskins-helmetThe Washington Redskins have had an increasing amount of controversy surrounding their name over the past several seasons. Many feel that the word “Redskins” is a racist term for Native Americans and should no longer be allowed in a professional sport. David Grosso, a City Council member in Washington, D.C., has proposed a solution.

“Washington’s name has been dishonored by association with the word ‘Redskins,’” Grosso wrote in a resolution, via the Washington Post. “Because it is well known in America and in nations afar that American Indians have experienced utmost suffering and disrespect over the years. It’s been a long time that we’ve had this name associated with Washington, and I think its time we take a stand and change it.”

Grosso’s new name of choice? The Washington Redtails. The name would pay homage to the nickname used by the Tuskegee Airmen during World War II, which was the aviation unit that broke the color barrier for US military pilots. And as an added bonus, Grosso noted that you could still keep the feather logo to represent a red-tailed hawk.

“You can still sing the song and everything,” he said, “Hail … to the …Redtails. You can still keep the feather.”

Any name change would take some getting used to, so it’s hard to tell if the Washington Redtails has a good ring to it and could catch on. Personally, I don’t think it’s horrible. That being said, Dan Snyder and company have given no indication that they are open to changing the name of the franchise. Unlike that National Basketball League team that changed its name almost instantly, I don’t see the Redskins budging any time soon.

H/T Pro Football Talk

DC mayor wants Redskins name change discussed

washington redskins logoThe Washington Redskins are the home team for the nation’s political center, yet they still have one of the most politically incorrect nicknames in professional sports.

Currently, the team plays its home games in Landover, Md., and its headquarters are in Ashburn, Va. If the team is to consider a move back into DC’s city limits, the mayor of DC, Vincent C. Gray, wants a nickname change to be discussed.

“I think that if they get serious with the team coming back to Washington, there’s no doubt there’s going to have to be a discussion about that,” Mayor Gray said after a news conference, “and of course the team is going to have to work with us around that issue.”

According to the Washington Post, Gray noted that the Washington Bullets (now the Wizards) and many other teams changed their insensitive or politically incorrect names.

“I think it has become a lightning rod, and I would be love to be able to sit down with the team … and see if a change should be made,” he said. “There’s a precedent for this, and I think there needs to be a dispassionate discussion about this, and do the right thing.”

Many fans and political figures in DC are passionate about the Redskins, and we know from past discussions that there would be plenty of resistance to a name change. We know that the current owner, Dan Snyder, has opposed a name change, so such a process would not be easy.

Helmet smack to Pro Football Talk