- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 1, 2013


Examining and evaluating one’s self is routine when calendars flip from one year to the next. Folks think about some desired behaviors and make a determination to achieve them during the next 12 months. 

Making such declarations are easy and fun — as long as they’re for someone else. So I hereby make the following resolutions for these sports figures in 2013:

• Redskins coach Mike Shanahan: “To limit any ‘I-told-you-sos’” Doubts were high when the team fell to 3-6 this season, 14-27 overall under Shanny. But now the project is on schedule for completion, just like he envisioned when he signed on. No one saw RG3 coming, but that’s beside the point.

• The NFL coaches fired Monday: “To be better, not bitter.” Andy Reid, Lovie Smith and Norv Turner can’t complain after lengthy stints in the corner office. Pat Shurmur (two years) and Romeo Crennel (one year) didn’t get much time, but probably as much as they deserved.

• The NHL owners and players: “To get something done or get off the pot.” The Winter Classic was scheduled for Tuesday, but the sides have opted to play a different game, seeing who can hold their breath longer. Thankfully, a drop-dead date is approaching and they should use it — one way or the other.

• Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg: “To be boring and normal.” From rookie sensation to short-leash starter, he has stood out. But in his first full season after Tommy John surgery, talent alone should drive the attention. That would suit Strasburg fine; he has neither the craving nor charisma for much more.

• The Big East football conference: “To be dignified in demise.” The loss of Boise State and, potentially, San Diego State cripples the grandiose expansion strategy. But the new playoff system delivers the ultimate blow, stripping the Big East’s automatic big-bowl invite and reducing the league to mid-major status. Rest in peace.

• Wizards owner Ted Leonsis: “To resist any longing for DeMarcus Cousins.” The Sacramento Kings’ volatile big man might be available, and Washington might be a possible destination. But reuniting him with former college teammate John Wall isn’t worth the risk. The Wizards just dumped their homegrown knuckleheads; they shouldn’t import one.

• Penn State coach Bill O’Brien: “To catch the first thing smoking out of Happy Valley.” O’Brien didn’t know the NCAA was going to hammer the program when he took the job last year. But he excelled in going 8-4 under trying circumstances. Now he can accelerate his return to the NFL.

• Men’s hoops coaches John Thompson III and Mark Turgeon: “To create a home-and-home.” Georgetown will have open dates after leaving the Big East. Maryland could use a ready-made rival after leaving the ACC. But more than anything, local basketball fans would relish this annual matchup. Make it happen, fellas.

• Redskins halfback Alfred Morris: “To keep driving the clunker, figuratively, if not literally.” It has a dent on one side and 125,000 miles on the odometer. But the 1991 Mazda personifies Morris, the NFL’s second-leading rusher. He doesn’t need a new ride, but he deserves one. Just keep the same spirit.

• The Los Angeles Clippers: “To show their co-tenant who runs L.A.” Sharing Staples Center is bad enough, but playing under the Lakers’ 16 NBA championship banners makes the arrangement worse. But the Clippers, with the league’s best record and point guard, are legitimate title contenders. Supplanting the Lakers comes with the territory.

• New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow: “To find a team that appreciates me.” He shouldn’t be listed at QB, let alone handed the starting job. But he has a place in the NFL under the right circumstances at the right position with the right team. The Jets struck out in all three regards.

• Nationals manager Davey Johnson: “To keep an open mind.” He supposedly will step down at the end of next season. But with 11 years off between managing the Dodgers and the Nats, Johnson is a young, 69-year-old. Jack McKeon was 72 when he led the Marlins to a World Series championship. Maybe retirement can wait.

• Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III: “To perfect his feet-first slide.” RG3 has tamed his instincts a bit since the concussion against Atlanta and the knee injury against Baltimore. But he still needs to fine-tune his decision-making on when to go down and how. Quarterbacks who don’t slide properly can resemble one-car accidents.

• Houston Rockets rookie Royce White: “To balance life and work.” An anxiety disorder is derailing the first-rounder’s career before it begins. He has been inactive for most of the season and recently rejected a D-League assignment. White wants to ensure his profession doesn’t conflict with his health.

That’s a worthy goal for all of us in 2013.

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