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Mouth Off at Mike

Who's closer to success?

Many felt this was going to be the year the Wizards put it all together. Instead, the team has struggled and now is entangled in controversy, thanks to Gilbert Arenas.

The Redskins also started the season with high hopes -- but now Mike Shanahan has replaced Jim Zorn after the franchise's worst record since 1994.

By Week 3, the Skins were out of it, and now two months into the NBA calendar, the Wizards are staring at a 10-21 record.

Wilbon gave his take on the Arenas gun drama over the weekend and shared his final thoughts on the Redskins' long and miserable road this season on Monday. Now we want to hear what you think. Which team is closest to returning to contention?

Vote in our poll and then share your specific thoughts in the comments section below. Wilbon will pick a few of his favorites and respond to them in the coming week.

By

Michael Wilbon

 |  January 6, 2010; 1:23 PM ET  |  Category:  Redskins , Wizards Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: Where's the Joy at FedEx? |

Comments

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It's a tie. Hands down! Both or horrible.

Posted by: ericmc1998 | January 10, 2010 8:31 PM
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Hey, Wilbon, do you still think the Cowboys are overrated? Do you still think they're patsies?

Come on, now. Be a grownup and admit you were wrong. Don't be like the political columnists who never retract or retrace, but go on spinning even in their sleep.

Posted by: donnolo | January 10, 2010 1:37 AM
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I can't believe other comments would say the Wizards.

The answer is definitely the Skins. It is much, much easier to turn things around in the NFL. Look at Atlanta and Miami who were both awful just a few years ago. They both regressed slightly this year but I would not be surprised if they contended for the Super Bowl next year. With a last place schedule the Skins could be in Wild Card contention with a few offseason additions to the roster. They have most of their draft picks and with an uncapped year should be able to add a few decent O-linemen.

The only way to truly contend in the NBA is to have superstar like Kobe, Lebron, Duncan, etc. Even if the Wizards get the first pick in the draft and take John Wall he is only 19 and would not make them a contender for at least a few years. None of the big 2010 free agents would ever come here and for cap reasons the Wizards couldn't sign them if they wanted too. One last note is that the Wizards are stuck with Arenas forever!! He has not done enough to void his contract and no other team would even consider trading for him.

Posted by: skinsFan74 | January 9, 2010 4:23 PM
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Let's see... if the Wizards stop shooting one another and the Redskins stop shooting themselves in the a$$, which team is closer to respectability?

Um, who cares?

I think a better question is: which formerly worthy Washington Post sportswriter is closer to obscurity: Kornheiser or Wilbon?

Go CAPS!!

Posted by: caps1974 | January 7, 2010 10:49 PM
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you suck wilbon! get outta dc!

Posted by: augustiswest | January 7, 2010 11:31 AM
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The Redskins' road to respectability is shorter for a couple of reasons:
1. Shanahan was hired as the coach. Instantly, the needle on the "respect-o-meter" jumped several notches. Instant respect doesn't comes often. Since I've been alive, it has occurred twice, when Lombardi was hired and when Gibbs returned. I have yet to see it happen with the Wizards (there was a lot of hope when Jordan arrived, but not instant respect). Plus, Shanahan made it clear that he will be working with Bruce Allen to shape the team. More notches on the "respect-o-meter."
2. If nothing else, the recent rift between Portis and Campbell has demonstrated that there are many players committed to "Redskins" football. If there were any questions about team commitment and playing hard, they've been answered. No doubt that players with poor attitudes will be in the lineup in September, but the tolerance level will be a lot lower. The Wizards' players seem spoiled and lost. What's the big deal about playing D??

Respectability is not the same as winning. As to who will reach .500 first, probably the Wizards because the ownership is committed to winning. Snyder wants to win, but it's not clear if he's committed to it. If he is, as he, Allen, and Shanahan claim he is, then we could have a very good football team for many years to come.

Posted by: 4thand1 | January 7, 2010 10:35 AM
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Wilbon is a douche. Either write a real news story about D.C sports or move back to Chicago

Posted by: davefromdc1 | January 7, 2010 10:29 AM
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Agree 100% with the people who have said the Caps are the team to follow. It's idiotic that clueless franchises like the Redskins and Wizards, who have been irrelevant for years, get more attention from the local media than the Caps do.

Unlike the Wizards and Redskins, the Capitals are a solid franchise, they are winning, they are classy, and they're built for long term success with loads of young talent on the roster and in the minor leagues. They are full of players that are exceptional on and off the ice. The Verizon Center is sold out every time they play.

The Redskins and Wizards? Clueless, egotistical jerks. Pure and simple. They don't win, and don't even try to on most game days/nights. The indifference is so obvious. What else...they snipe at each other...bash each other in the press. Pulling guns. No clue or direction for either team. Yeah let's devote pages and pages in the sports section for yet ANOTHER Redskins coaching change....cause the last few went so well didn't they?

It's disgraceful how little attention the Capitals get despite clearly being the only team in town that people care about, and obviously the only one that knows what it's doing.

As for the poll question, Option C....neither. They both have years of work ahead of them before words like respectability can be used.

Posted by: jollyroger2 | January 7, 2010 9:57 AM
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Jack Kent Cooke left us - then what happened? Abe Pollin left us - then what happened?

Without revealing too much of my personal life, the regressive trend that we've witnessed with these two teams is too reminiscent to me of what happened in my own family when our father left.

Sometimes these behaviors are reactive. Sometimes they are deliberate because "the cat's away." Either way, the patterns are too similar to be coincidental.

Posted by: scheermadness | January 7, 2010 2:07 AM
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I believe the Wizards have further to go as franchise players in the NBA are a precious commodity and are essential to a title run.

Personally my main focus turned to the Caps a few years ago. They are easily the toast the of the town and will continue to be for numerous years to come as I believe Lord Stanley is going to visit very soon.

Note to Wilbon- this team is way more talented than the 80's and 90's Caps so shut up with that garbage about the past, it's simply not relevant for anything other than obnoxious talk radio.

ROCK THE RED! LET'S GO CAPS!

Posted by: croftonpost | January 7, 2010 12:15 AM
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There is one athlete playing in Washington who got over $100 million and still is playing lights-out--Alex Ovechkin. It's time for the whole town to dump the Wizards and the Redskins and embrace the Caps, who have done everything to create a long-term winner for Washington.

Don't go back until the Wizards and Redskins have taken the kinds of actions Ted Leonsis and George McPhee did to rebuild the Capitals.

Posted by: Spino | January 6, 2010 7:13 PM
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I find Arenas's behaviour disgusting, thuggish, and ignorant. As a Black middle class man trying to raise a young black adult, I am abhorred as to how many black athletes don't get. What they do is a previledge. The fact that they are required to live by the same moral, ethical, and legal laws as anyone else hasn't sunked in. What they do, doesn't increase society's worth, not one bit. The money they throw at charities compared to their net pay shows the lack of concern for race and community. A message needs to be sent to these idiots, especially the ones that think his actions are humorous. He should be proscecuted accordingly and his contract cancelled. Let him try and earn a living doing something worth more than throwing a brown ball in a hole. This adds nothing to improve the world or community.

Posted by: paleshadow | January 6, 2010 6:16 PM
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I don't know about joy at FedEx since I haven't lived in the area since he Skins moved there. But I can tell you there sure was joy at RFK, especially during Dallas Week. The whole town turned burgundy and gold back in those days. It's sad to have lost that.

Posted by: ExPatYankee | January 6, 2010 4:55 PM
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HONESTLY..I THINK THAT QUESTION NEEDS TO BE ASKED IN SAY..THREE YEARS. OF COURSE HOW ARE DEFINING SUCCESS? IMPOSSIBLE TO ANSWER THE QUESTION WITHOUT THE PARAMETERS OUTLINING A SUCCESSFUL SEASON.
HOWEVER YOU WANT TO DEFINE IT..THE ANSWER CERTAINLY LIES OVER THE HORIZON!!

Posted by: blazerguy234 | January 6, 2010 4:44 PM
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Next question. Why does giving 100 million dollars to a Washington player seem to worsen them rather than inspire?

Posted by: DrWho2 | January 6, 2010 4:38 PM
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I don't know yet who's closer, but are both about the same distance from success, that being light years.

However, like others, I have much more faith and respect for Ted than Danny Girl.

Posted by: DrWho2 | January 6, 2010 4:34 PM
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"The 'Skins, on the other hand, really do have a core of good players"

Sure. If by "core" you mean one or two.

Teams that go 4-12 can't possibly have a "core" of good players. Otherwise, they wouldn't be one of the worst teams in the league.

The Skins offense is littered with mediocre talent. They have no running back of any value to speak of. Their wide receivers are a complete unknown. They apparently have two very good TE's but that's one too many. And the offensive line is a complete disaster.

Posted by: globalone | January 6, 2010 4:33 PM
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I happen to think that the Wizards are still in this moribund state where making your bucks is what counts more than working as a winning team. Flip has been chipping away, but it will likely take new ownership and totally blowing up the team to turn things around.

The 'Skins, on the other hand, really do have a core of good players. On offense, guys like Samuels, Rabach, and Heyer are good O-linemen. Yes, we need at least one more first-rate starter and keep the other guys healthy. Portis - out. In our dreams, I'd love to get Ingram. I frankly think Campbell can be a really good QB in the right system, but I'd go after someone like McCoy as insurance. We also need a run-back man. Rock needs to go back to being a fullback. On D, Horton stays in the backfield, and Carter, Orakpo and Fletcher are the core up front. Albert may have to stay just for what it would cost to dump him - maybe he can be good again in the right system.

All that being said, it still hinges on how much control Shanahan and Allen will have. If Diamond Dan continues to meddle, then never mind.

Posted by: ebtnut | January 6, 2010 4:26 PM
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Don't know. They are both off the franchise respectability spectrum.

Could not agree with you more Wilbon regarding your "yawn" of a reaction to the Shanahan announcement... Another year, another high dollar acquisition, same c#$ppy result. Somehow no matter what D. Snyder does, he manages to keep adding to the melting pot of dysfunction that the Redskins have become since he bought the franchise.

Posted by: WECnDC | January 6, 2010 4:14 PM
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(Potentially) Leonsis v. Snyder? A 12-man roster v. a 54-man roster? A game that requires acquiring and coordinating 5 starters and back-ups v. a game that requires acquiring 22 (offensive & defensive) starters and back-ups? Gotta believe the Redskins have a longer way to go. And because they're in the NFC East (when is the last time they won a divisional game?), a much longer way to go...

Posted by: wdb503 | January 6, 2010 4:07 PM
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The Wizards have to be closer, simply because it takes less to overhaul a basketball roster than it does a football one. The Redskins need several starting offensive linemen before they can even think about being good; putting even Peyton Manning or Tom Brady behind the line that exists now would not help. Clinton Portis needs to be shipped out. The defense was pretty solid, but Haynesworth is not worth the money they're paying him, so they'll need some young help there, too. All of that cannot be done in one draft, or one offseason. The Wiz, on the other hand, have some pieces to bargain with, and ditching Arenas would be immediate addition by subtraction.

Posted by: U-Hoo | January 6, 2010 3:21 PM
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It's not too late for the Wizards to turn the season around. It's definitely getting close to that point but until they blow up the team or the team implodes on itself for good - there's still hope. Don't forget Houston's surge in 2008 - 22 straight wins. You can't say anyone saw that coming. This upcoming week will prove whether Gil is up for the challenge or not. With a solid performance last night, Cleveland tonight and Orlando in town on Friday. Three wins against solid opponents can do wonders for a teams confidence. A lot of great people do exceptionally well when under the gun (no pun intended) - and Gil may be one of them, only time will tell.

Regarding the Redskins - too much has yet to be determined with the offseason just getting started, so perhaps if we had a time machine to ask this question with the NOW current state of the Wizards and the current state of the Redskins week 3 of next season - then we might be able to offer a better guess as to who truly is on the right track. We've all seen this story before with the Skins, there's really no telling at this point.

Posted by: JBuss | January 6, 2010 3:19 PM
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Boston Celtics went from worst-to-first with a few amazing trades. That doesn't happen in the NFL. It especially doesn't happen with the Redskins, as history has proven.

Posted by: kchenx | January 6, 2010 3:17 PM
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The Redskins have the longer row to hoe because of one factor and one factor only.

-- The Wiz will soon have Ted Leonsis as their owner. The Skins still have The Dan.

#Skinsfail

Posted by: Hawaiiexpat | January 6, 2010 2:56 PM
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