Arts & Entertainment

Picking Splinters: : Christmas Mailbag

Are you surprised that Jim Zorn has kept his job after the collapse that kept them out of the playoffs?

I probably would have been fired twice by now…

Marty S.

Hey Marty, no, I’m not surprised that Jim Zorn kept his job, but I’m also not surprised that people are shocked by the decision to bring him back. It’s insane that any new coach could potentially match the team’s 9-7 mark from a season earlier and be on the hot seat. That’s how crazy the coaching situation has been under Dan Snyder.

As you may recall, there’s a precident for terminating coaches with a .500 mark after one year. However, that’s just nuts. It’s indicative of this fantastic belief you can win a Super Bowl in one season like the Florida Marlins won a World Series in 1997. That just doesn’t happen in the NFL. There are too many pieces to fit in place and too many intricacies to teach to young players.

It’s clear that the Redskins still need some pieces – on the offensive and defensive line – and its young players – namely the non-existent rookie receivers – still have intricacies to learn. Swapping coaches will just delay that growth, and if you give Jason Campbell yet another play book to learn, you may as well toss him away as well. Add those pieces – paging Mr. Haynesworth, Albert Haynesworth, your payday is ready – give the young players some time to expand the offense and give it a go next season.

Any advice for the Wizards? Well, at least advice that you can print in a family newspaper?

Ernie G.

If the Wiz want to make good use of their time, they should hone their fan promotions for the remainder of the year. They’re going to need some incentives to get fans to watch that train wreck of a team. Lotto ball giveaway night? Ricky Rubio mop-top day? Maybe they can sponsor “Sadism Night.”

The best part – and by “best” I mean it in the same way that the fruit cake is the “best” part of visiting your annoying Cowboy-fan relatives for the holidays – the best part, is that there is literally no reasonable avenue the Wiz can pursue besides gritting their teeth and riding out the losses to a lottery pick.

Want to rebuild? Good luck. You’re not going to move Gilbert Arenas’s massive new contract. Nor can you get anything resembling good value for Antawn Jamison. The entire league is in “sell” mode and players are going for discount prices. Caron Butler might fetch a top draft pick, but do you really want to trade the only young, affordable, all-star player on the roster? Thought so.

Yeah, “Sadism Night” is starting to look pretty good, right? Pretty soon, the ticket lines are going to look like that group of self-flagellating monks from “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.”

Hoyas look pretty good so far. Is it time for another Final Four run?

Patrick E.

The Hoyas have a few nice wins, obliterating Maryland and beating Memphis in OT, but Georgetown (8-1) will have to be a lot sharper to emerge from their next six games with a record better than 9-6. Over that stretch, the Hoyas will face five teams in the Top 20, four of them in the Top 10 and three of them in the Top 5. The fun starts Dec. 29 against UConn in Hartford, before GU gets to come home to No. 3 Pitt. No. 8 Notre Dame in South Bend is next, followed by a trap game against Providence, a grudge match against No. 17 Syracuse and then a trip to face No. 5 Duke at Cameron. Happy Holidays!

The games will also provide the first tough tests for frosh center Greg Monroe, as he squares off against big men Hasheem Thabeet, DeJuan Blair and Luke Harangody consecutively. Monroe’s quickness and ability to play beyond the arc could bother all three, but their size could allow them to back him down and get him into foul trouble. If Monroe goes to the bench, Georgetown’s attack suddenly becomes very perimeter oriented.

After this stretch, we’ll find out a lot about the Hoyas’ chances for the rest of the season.