Faces in new places

Change is inevitable, it happens.  People move, make new friends, change jobs, etc.  It’s a big part of life and in my opinion, it’s a great part of life.  I love to experience new things.  Try new restaurants and take a trip to a place i know nothing about…or simply listen to new music.  I live new.  New is good to me, it excites me and awakens me.  The flip side to that is i tend to jump in head first for the new thing and get caught up in the moment.  I’m a bit impulsive at times and this can be a bad combination…compulsivity and attraction to the novel.  That said, if i really am honest with myself and look back on what i’ve gone through, i can’t say that i have any regrets (or at least very few…) for things that i’ve done.  It’s always the things i didn’t do that get me…which i think most people go through in their life.  The fear of taking a risk and just going for it cripples most of us.  I know it’s paralyzed me in the past…completely shut me down at times.  I’m a totally afraid of fear.  Last year though, i started to take a different approach and go head first in to new things…now, these were safe gambles.  I wasn’t jumping out of planes or wrestling tigers (GO CLEMSON!!  YAY!), i was leaving something that was know for something that was unknown and striking up a conversation with people i wouldn’t normally talk to.  Attempting to become fearless.  Well, my levels of fear are creeping back up.  Self doubt is creeping back in to my mind and slowing me down once again.  It’s been tough adjusting to the new…but i think it’s worth it and i could really use a little bit of a reboot and a chance to challenge  myself again.

Leaving and arriving are antonyms, but really you can’t have one without the other.  If you are leaving a place, then you must be arriving to another place.  Whether the circumstances were of your own volition or through the making of someone else, it’s a chance to start fresh and push yourself to do things you maybe haven’t had to do in a while.

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Less than a year ago, the Carolina Panthers offered the Franchise tag to arguably the best cornerback in the NFL, Josh Norman.  There was quite a bit of back and forth with him and the Panthers and to be honest, i wasn’t paying attention…didn’t need to.  He played for a team that i appreciate, but don’t think too much about, he wasn’t a Redskin.  Well, time went on and the contract wasn’t signed for whatever reasons.  Just before it needed to be signed, the Panthers pulled the offer and Norman became a free agent.  Less than a week after, he was a Redskin.

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This was quite a coup for my team.  They needed major secondary help…MAJOR secondary help (and still do), he wasn’t going to be the savior but he was a night and day improvement over what the Redskins had last season.  Being the shutdown corner that he is labeled, he doesn’t get too many passes thrown his way.  A little ironic that the best player on your defense rarely sees the ball or gets close to the ball…seems counterintuitive doesn’t it?  He’s basically a little leaguer in right field…put him where he won’t see any action!!!

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Norman had a good season.  Not an epic season, but nice.  Held some of the best receivers in the NFL to their worst games of the year.  His battle with Odell Beckham Jr. earlier this year led to OBJr. getting sacked by a kicking net on the Giants sidelines.  Classic material if you ask me.  Josh Norman is one of those guys that you love if he’s on your team and hate if he isn’t and i’m cool with that.  He seems like a cool guy, energetic and knowledgable about the NFL game.  I guess he’s a great example of making the best of a new situation.  A situation he didn’t have total control over, but it worked out…kinda helped he got crazy paid though.

Being a rookie has to be tough on the college kids.  Incredible levels of competition and a whole new routine and way of life.  There is always someone nipping at your heels pushing you to be better and reach higher levels of excellence.  Some succeed and some crumble.  This guy, Matt Jones did neither last year.  He was somewhere in between and ended up losing his job due to costly fumbles…but hey, competition, right!  That hair in the photo is pretty epic.

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Another difficult part of being a rookie is injuries…damn injuries.  This kid, Keith Marshall was hit with some elbow issues in preseason and ended up on the IR for the year.  Not a great start for a guy at a deep position.

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He showed some signs of potential in the few touches he had in preseason, so it made sense for the Redskins to IR him in hopes of keeping him on the roster and not cutting him.

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Not sure what next year will bring for him, i hope he gets healthy, gets reps and has a chance to make the team next year.  Georgia has had some pretty fantastic running backs in the past, and maybe he can be a hidden gem?

So yeah, i picked up a couple autographs of him over the weekend.  They are cheap and colorful with wicked wands of hair…can’t go wrong really.  One of the cards i picked up though really caught my eye.  It was a personalized card, and a card that Kim had set aside for me.  My first personalized authentic card ever.  But it was cool and timely for me.  Take a look.

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I already miss Athens, GA.

Now, this could simply be rhetoric and i’m making it in to something deeper, but my point is that we should always feel great about moving forward and challenging ourselves with new experiences and be allowed to miss the people/places/things we’ve left behind.

I’ve always thought i was someone that never wanted to look back, only move forward…KIM (keep it movin’).  But, i’m understanding the importance of being able to look back happily and remember the experiences, good and bad that i went through…and more importantly the people that helped get me where i am today.  Thank you for reading tonight.

The song for the night is fitting for the post i believe…

 

Rookie gambles

“…the kids better buy my rookie card now

cause after this year the price ain’t going down!”

These words were uttered by the lyrically inclined, Mos Def…or Yasin Bey.

The value of rookie cards have been a part of non-card collectors for many years and often referenced in pop culture.  Maybe not necessarily the value of a card, but the understanding that rookie cards generally carry a significantly greater value or general demand over non rookie cards.

I’ve never been a gambler, nor have i been a prospector.  I’m a collector, a team collector.  A team collector of an NFL franchise that has not been great for a few years and are faced with a high draft pick each year in the Spring NFL draft.  Typically a high NFL draft, assuming an offensive player or skilled defensive player will have valuable rookie cards.  When they are drafted by the Redskins, i have a collectors obligation to pick them up.  Typically, the sooner the better for me.  Problem is though, you never know how a guy is going to pan out in his athletic career.  Case in point, this guy.

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In 2012, i bought way too many boxes of football cars in hopes of pulling ONE…just ONE autographed RGIII card.  Never.  Not once did i have my wish granted…ironically though, i did manage to pull two Kirk Cousins cards that year.  At the time, i was slightly disappointed…that’s what it came to, i was disappointed to have a back up guy, not the main guys autograph, i mean c’mon man RGIII was the future!  As you may be able to tell from the card above, he is a distant memory for all Redskins fans now and something the Cleveland Browns are forced to deal with.  Now, don’t get me wrong i have some great memories, some not so great ones too, but the drama with this guy…not to mention the fragility with which he played.  Point is, you have to be patient and know when to strike on these young guys.  I think i’ve learned my lesson a bit and have managed to make a few good pick ups from the past couple of card shows with Kim.  Here are the few top Redskins rookies and cards with autographs.

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I’ve written about this guy a lot.  The main reason is that i’m feeling like he may be another Malcolm Kelly or Devin Thomas or Michael Westbrook or Rod Gardner or…you get the idea.  A highly touted rookie WR that isn’t able to meet the expectations.

Doctson has missed most of the season and who knows what the future will bring.  With the lull in his playing this year though, it’s time to swoop in and pick up some autos.

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I’ve been able to pick up a few for less than $5 each.  Not bad for a first round draft pick, skilled position player autograph and or jersey.

Another guy that i’ve been putting together a nice collection of is Nate Sudfeld.  A back up QB…worked well last time, why not try again!  I don’t believe Nate has suited up for any regular season games this season, which is great because that means Cousins has played great and has been healthy.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I love Kirk Cousins and hope the Redskins can sign him to a long term contract and hope that he is the long term answer.  But you need a backup and a good backup at that.  Worst case, he gets traded and stars somewhere else and i’m able to flip these guys for more Redskins.

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The digital camoflauge is always something cool to see on a card.  The autograph of Nate though…it needs some work.  I think these kids are asked to initial the stickers, not autograph them…oy!

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Next rookie that i haven’t really started my pursuit of but need to step it up a bit is Su’A Cravens.  He was a huge fan of Sean Taylor as a young’n and his play in some respects reflects the same intensity that Sean had.  Su’A is an intense young man that hits hard and plays with enough intensity to become playmaker in the future, so now is the time to strike if you ask me!

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Last kid for the night is Keith Marshall.  A rookie running back from the University of UGA…or Georgia.  Don’t know much about this kid since he was injured in the preseason and has been on IR all season…you can never have enough RB’s, especially the fast ones which i believe he is.

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I’m thinking of posting some Bowman cards i’ve picked up recently after i do some research on the nicer cards i pulled.

Hope you enjoyed the cards today.

Here for your viewing pleasure…Pharoahe Monche, Mos Def and Nate Dogg…OH NO!!

Sundays with J-Dox

 

Sundays around here can be a little chaotic.  Lots of chores to be done before the day is done, spending quality time with the family, and getting ready for the upcoming work/school week.  Not to mention finding a way to watch every second of every Redskins game.  The swings of my emotions would often swing directly with the results of the game and how each play played itself out.  I’ve grown up a little bit though.  I’ve been able to manage my expectations a little better and control my emotions and temperment…being a fan of a team that hasn’t been to the Super Bowl since 1991 will do that do you i guess.

The 23-31 loss to the Arizona Cardinals today though was quite frustrating.  Arizona has a solid defense and a few fantastic players on both sides of the ball…but i think the Redskins had many chances to win the game today…the defense just didn’t get the job done today.  Here’s hoping they can regroup for the Philadelphia Eagles next week in Philly and that DeSean Jackson has a big game.

Speaking of D-Jax, there seems to be a lot of build up about him returning to the Eagles next season.  Although i wouldn’t be overly happy about that, i don’t think i would lose much sleep over it either.  One of the reasons is this guy…Josh Doctson.

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Josh is a completely different type of receiver than Jackson.

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He’s also a very different kind of receiver than the Redskins have had in a long time.  Tall, fast guy that can make some plays on the edges and in the middle of the field…i just hope he can get healthy.  He’s been dealing with some odd achilles/foot injury all year and hasn’t been on the field too much this season…two games i believe.

Here are a few of the nicer cards i picked up from Brian the other day.  Brian is an Eagles fan.

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I’m always a sucker for jumbo patch cards like this…but i’m always a little curious about the crop of the player on these cards.  Jumbo patch or player photo…i’ll take the jumbo patch, especially with the burgundy and gold stitched together.

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The tri-colored patch is pretty cool, but the autograph is just aiight.

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So whether or not D-Jax leaves and Josh Doctson can fulfill his large shoes…or not is to be seen.  If J-Dox turns out to be a gem, i’ve got a nice start to his rookie card collection.

Thanks for reading…on to the Eagles!  HTTR!!

 

 

 

Breaking Box

Some of you kids, if not most of you have heard of Collector Revolution.  It’s supposed to be a revolution for collector’s in that it’s not ebay…or feebay as some like to call it.  For those that don’t know, it’s a place where collector’s can sell their goods to other collectors online.  Not a new concept, but a pretty cool place to find some good cards at a good rate from people you can sorta trust.  I still prefer COMC as my #1 online shopping for singles, but collectors revolution is something i may be looking into in the coming year.

One thing they have that really intrigued me was their online box breaks.  The intriguing part for me was that they are fairly inexpensive for good product…the drawback is that the breaks are all random, at least the ones i’ve seen.  If you are into big hits, which i tend to not be, than this is something you may be interested in.  For me, I like a little more focused collection process.  I don’t have a ton of money to spend on the hobby so any dollar I have to spend on product is stuff for completing sets or chasing players i like from teams i like.  That said, i wanted to give the breaks a few chances.

I was a little weary about the breaks at first, so went with a lower end football break of 2013 Leaf Certified and Platinum Football as well as a break of 2013 Topps Triple Threads.  I picked up two spots on the football break and one for the baseball break for a total of $30.  As i expected, I got teams I wasn’t excited about – San Diego Chargers and Indianapolis Colts.  I was hoping for a Luck auto…but the best card i received was this Dan Fouts serial numbered card.

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The baseball break was a little better.  I got the Tigers and received these two very nice cards.  An Al Kaline serial numbered card…

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…and a Prince Fielder Largest Card memorabilia card.  Nothing too exciting, but nice cards no less.

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Me being a glutton for punishment, i went in on a 4-box break for 2013 Topps Chrome…and pulled the Jacksonville Jaguars…i know…

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Not wanting to go out on a bad note, i thought i would buy a spot for the Topps Five Star for $14.50.  I figured, i would never buy this product ever and may end up getting lucky.  I was essentially buying 7 mega millions lottery tickets…and I lost.  I pulled the Astros and ended up not getting anything in the box.  When you go hitless in the box break, you name is added to a special bonus box break…which has yet to happen…i’m hoping it happens soon though!

All in all, I like the idea of the box and case breaks but not the random teams.  I’d rather pay a little premium to get the Redskins or Yankees or Nationals.  I guess at the end of the day it’s no different than buying a pack or box of cards in that you have no idea what you will get.  You could end up with a short print auto relic or you could end up with a 7th round offensive linemen…it’s always a gamble.  One that I will probably avoid in the future as it doesn’t fit my collecting tendencies.

PS – If you are interested in any of the cards above, let me know as they are up for trade!

PPS – as a side note and something completely unrelated…my favorite album of the year Run the Jewels from El-P and Killer Mike was noted as Okayplayer.com top album of 2013.  There are a few other albums on their I need to dig deeper into before I can agree with the ranking (Earl, Tyler and Chip).

Portis Paraphernalia

Yet another poor showing for the burgundy and gold tonight.  I DVR’d the game and had no real desire to watch it…but i broke down and sat through the entire game, skipping the punts and timeouts of course.  Everything went pretty poorly after the second score, the Redskins just can’t play a complete game.  Not to mention, they were really screwed on the last drive with the 1st down/3rd down confusion.  Thanks part time NFL refs, you are wonderful

The terrible season has me looking back rather than forward.  One of my favorite Redskins was Clinton Portis.  I picked up a couple of his rookie cards at the last card show in Mall 205.  I always stop by Tom’s table to see what he has to offer first, but one of my new favorite stops has become Kim’s table.  He is super friendly and always has a bundle of Redskins for me…at a great discount too.  It helps to be regular!  Most of the time he will mark down the cards 40%-60%.  He does this for a lot of his regulars as well as the kids that stop by the table…which is pretty cool since the hobby seems to be ignoring this demographic with each new insert and subset.  When i was sifting through the pile of cards he had set aside for me, he was upselling a Portis Jersey card.  Ok.  I pulled this one and didn’t even notice the orange swatch…not really a jersey though.  It’s a Hot Shirt.  No idea what the hell a hot shirt is, but i has one of Portis.

02 TP Clinton Portis Hot Shirt

One thing that always makes me laugh when i stop by Kim’s table is his salesmanship.  He’s always pushing other players from other teams on me, clearly not knowing my single minded focus on this hobby.  Redskins players only…unless they came from other teams of course, like Portis and Moss.  Still a great stop if you like the mid tier cards and crave great deals.  The card below has football dimples on it.  Pretty cool, plus it’s certified, Leaf Certified.

02 LC Clinton Portis Freshman Fabric Footbal cut 11:250

 

 

Top 12 All Time Redskins: Brian Orakpo

The second installment of my all time favorite Redskins is Brian Orakpo, or ‘Rak!

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Rak is entering his 5 year as a Redskin after being selected 13th overall in the 2009 draft.  The fact that he slipped to the Redskins at no. 13 was a complete shock to me as he was someone i followed at the University of Texas.  He was a beast of a talent at UT and dominated so many games for the Longhorns.  There were quite a few mock drafts that had him going in the top 5 and being the first or second DE taken that year.  I don’t believe there has ever been a real explanation for why he slipped, but i’ve always felt that many NFL scouts saw him as one of those ‘workout warrior’ guys that looked better working out than actually playing the game.  Rak was drafted as a DE which is what he played in college, but was drafted to play LB for the Redskins next to London Fletcher.  The transition has for him has worked well, but it has also exposed some of his limitations as a football player.  When the Redskins drafted Ryan Kerrigan in 2011, they developed a nice bookend with each other that were able to get to the QB and apply pressure throughout the season.  As with all football players, he does have limitations, but has proven to be well worth his high selection…in my opinion.

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Brian Orakpo would be higher on my list, but with the injuries he’s suffered in the past two seasons…i’m not really sure when he will be 100% again.  He has always managed to bring an extremely high level of intensity to the field and passion to the sidelines.  Watching him on the sidelines most of last season without football equipment was heartbreaking, especially with the new found success the Washington Redskins experienced last year.  I’m hoping he is able to get healthy and create a dominating tandem with Kerrigan and some of the other guys that stepped up in his place this year (Lorenzo Alexander, Rob Jackson and Perry Riley).

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When Rak joined the Redskins i was all in on his cards and bid on his autos regularly on ebay as well as some game used jersey cards that will look great once i have a sports room to display them!

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One of my best memories of Rak was being at the first game of the 2010 season in Landover, MD against the rival Dallas Cowboys.  My first home Redskins game ever!  I had been to a few Cowboy vs. Redskins games, but they were always in Irving.  Rak was having a really good game and putting a ton of pressure on Romo all night long, but just couldn’t get to him…mainly because he was being held on nearly every play.  On the final play of the game with about 13 seconds and the Cowboys in the redzone threatening to score a touchdown and win the game.  Rak came around from the left side and just missed sacking Romo…as Romo completed a pass in the end zone to Roy Williams to tie the game.  BUT WAIT!  There was a flag!  The officials finally called holding on the Cowboys offensive line.  Game over.  Redskins win 13-7 on Sunday night in Landover.  Fantastic finish!

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#12 – The Hogs

#11 – Brian Orakpo