Friday, August 29, 2008

"Bloggers and Everything"

Cracking the mainstream

Update by Ben, 2:00 PM ET, as I post this I see our own Will Allensworth of Hogs Haven and Tony Brown of Hog Heaven are featured on ESPN, get used to seeing more of your favorite Redskins and NFL bloggers mixing it up in the traditional media! (h/t to Will for self promoting)

For observant fans there was a bit of a watershed moment in the NBC broadcast of the dreadful Redskins-Jaguars game last night. With about four minutes left in the game Al Michaels and John Madden were as usual way off the game and Al asked John who his sleeper picks were for the next Super Bowl, which teams were the ones no one was talking about that could make it to the Big Game.

By way of not answering the question John responded by saying that with all the magazines, newspapers, TV shows, radio and quote bloggers and everything unquote out there and then his answer trailed off.

The clear intent was, in not letting himself be pinned down to any specific teams, to illustrate the wide world of legitimate football coverage and how there are so many choices now football fans can go do the homework and decide for themselves who may by the team no one expects to go all the way.

Add to the godfather's prime time mention of blogs as part of the media pantheon the outreach I and many fellow bloggers are experiencing from traditional sources, the NFL itself, the USA Today, the Washington Times, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and it is obvious the traditional media is coming to terms with this new and alternate form of regular coverage.

As recently as last season there was still a great deal of pushback against the apocryphal blogger, typing away in his parents' basement clad only in underwear, totally uninformed, not even smart enough to know it and thank goodness for the benevolent overlords of the traditional media to tell us what to think and how to think it, remember this Mike Wise piece in the Washington Post from last year?

Thanks to the readers of this and every football blog, more voices is better coverage, we are crashing the traditional media's private club. Some outlets will welcome it and work with us, others will resist and see themselves isolated.

Bring on the 2008 season!

Madden 93 for SNES, a game I played around the clock for a year, from here.

No Information Available


Takeaway drill: Redskins first team offense manages 14 yards in in four drives, 176 yards overall in four quarters. Defense manages not to humiliate self, little to get psyched about. Bring on the regular season already.


Monday Friday walkthrough: Redskins go for the redemption of playing some real football with offensive starters, look awful, lose 24-3 to the Jacksonville Jaguars.

The first quarter started with a Shaun Suisham kickoff out the back of the end zone. The Redskins second team defense holds the Jaguars to 19 yards and Jacksonville punts. On the Redskins first offensive play Jason Campbell bounces the ball off rookie Devin Thomas' shoulder, it bounces around and is intercepted. The defense holds briefly then Reggie Williams catches a David Garrard touchdown pass, 7-0 Jaguars. The Redskins continue to stink and punt, Jaguars get the ball back and look good until Reed Doughty intercepts a deep David Garrard pass. Marcus Mason then Redskins punt. The first team Jaguars offense takes the field and drives to the end of the quarter, 7-0 Jaguars.

The Jaguars continue their drive in the second quarter, hold the ball for four minutes, score on a TD pass from Cleo Lemon to Greg Estandia, a 6' 8" tight end who caught the ball in the right end zone over 5' 9" Justin Tryon, 14-0 Jaguars. Redskins get the ball back, Colt Brennan comes in at quarterback, Marcus Mason takes the ball 13 yards through the middle on first down. Colt looks cool and collected, Redskins manage a 26 yard field goal, 14-3 Jaguars. Jacksonville gets the ball back, marches down the field, Lorenzo Alexander aka Scarface sacks Cleo Lemon at the two minute warning. Jaguars kick a field goal to make it 17-3 Jaguars. Devin Thomas looks tentative again returning the kick and the Redskins get the ball back with one minute left in the half, Colt Brennan still in the game. Marcus Mason catches a short one over the middle for 18 yards. Colt Brennan is now six for six, another pass to Marcus, seven for seven then sacked in a jailbreak, end of half 26-17 17-3 Jaguars.

For the third quarter the Redskins got the ball back, Marcus Mason returned the kick and did not fumble, Marcus Mason and Colt Brennan still in the game, Redskins three and out on three runs. The Jaguars return the punt a looong way, cannot move the ball well against the Redskins and punt, Colt and Marcus still in the game. Jaguars punt, Redskins get the ball back Marcus Mason, Marcus Mason, Colt is sacked, Derrick Front punts, Jacksonville gets the ball back and drives to the end of the third quarter, still 17-3 Jaguars.

The fourth quarter started with the Jaguars driving, they three and out. Maurice Mann makes a good catch then Colt Brennan trips on his center's feet. After a great 3rd and nine pass to Horace Gant Marcus Mason cannot get one yard on fourth down, turn it over on downs. Next play Todd Bouman to Troy Williamson long for a TD, Jaguars 24-3. Colt looks good on the next drive, cannot get any help, Frost has a bad punt. Jax punts, Redskins punt, yada yada game over Jaguars win 24-3.


Soapbox: 14 yards. The first team offense managed 14 yards in four drives. Pathetic and going downhill, this team managed a whopping 176 yards of offense in the entire game. The Redskins head into the regular season laying three eggs in a row. Let the rending of garments to begin, fear, fear for this team's football fortunes.

The Redskins were outscored 71-6 in the last two games. That is not the change we can believe in.


Chattering class:


Omnibus: Marcus Mason came out with the starting offense, Clinton Portis was in a t shirt and Ladell Betts did not carry in the first quarter.

Maurice Mann took the first punt return, I wonder what that means. Looking back at the game the team gave Maurice every possible opportunity to make plays. He is on the outside edge of the outside of the bubble's exterior.

The other Ladell Betts aka Alfred Fincher was in on a lot of plays in the first quarter.

The bloom is so far off the LaVar Arrington rose that they gave number 56 to a guy that likely will not make the team, linebacker Curtis Gatewood.

Colt Brennan came in during the second quarter, ahead of Todd Collins, played the rest of the half with the second team.

HB Blades missed a key tackle after the two minute warning in the first half, allowing Chauncey Washington to make a big gain down the right side. That is not good for him.

Former Pierson Prioleau now plays for the Jaguars and was in on a jailbreak sack of Colt Brennan at the end of the half. Good to see Pierson still playing.

At the first TV break during the half the NBC broadcast put up the score as Jacksonville 26, Washington 17. This score gives the Jaguars nine extra points and the Redskins two extra touchdowns.

Ryan Boschetti made a great 3rd quarter backfield hit on tailback Chauncey Washington, as my neighbor said, Ryan is usually in games late but he always gets his number called.

Rookie safety Chris Horton made a 3rd quarter direct hit on Jaguars receiver Travis Taylor to jar the ball loose. Later in the same quarter Chris Horton failed badly trying to tackle Chauncey Washington, just completely failed to wrap up.

Maurice Mann may not make the team as a receiver, I will say he looks better as a punt returner than Devin Thomas.

John Madden got Coltrolled. He also mentioned bloggers as a voice in the discussion of who might be the surprise Super Bowl entry.


Addicted to Zorn:

Shooter: Jason was one of four; in the second quarter Adam Shefter had a sideline interview with Jason, Jason attributed their weak performance to mindset. Jason understands it is going to be a tough season, so he says in perhaps the understatement of training camp. Jason Campbell has regressed in this preseason.

Coltrolled: Colt Brennan came in in the second quarter and four plays into his first drive, 8:30 left second, John Madden laid it on thick, Colt is a guy that seems to spark every one around him. Then Al Michaels goes through the yada yada 6th round draft choices can be special see also Tom Brady. Colt played the rest of the half. Right at the end John Madden held Colt's drop back and release up as a great example of how the west coast offense is run.


Washington Post / AP recap, box score, play by play. NFL recap, box score, full play by play, Gamebook (PDF), photos.

Other recaps:

Next up, regular season and the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants

Jim Zorn: Larry French / Getty Images from here.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Preseason Game 5: Redskins (3-1) vs. Jaguars (2-1)


The last preaseason game is here, a Thursday 7pm ET game at Redskins Stadium against the Jacksonville Jaguars, and with this game a bunch of last chances. Last chance for the first team offense to play like men. Last chance for at least 22 players to make an impression, to show they are worthy of a job in the NFL. Last chance for the team to get a live fire idea if their game plan will work. The regular season looms, one week from tonight.

Traditionally starters play no more than one series in the last preseason game and that drive is usually the most vanilla plays in the book, designed not to reveal anything to the rest of the league or get anybody hurt. Not this time. After the Carolina preseason debacle last week the team is pissed at itself, some of the first team players have asked to play and coach Jim Zorn has acquiesced, the starting offense will play until coach Zorn sees something to be happy about or hell freezes over. The starting defense? Nah they won't play, they know they stunk it up and defensive coordinator Greg Blache wants that bad taste to linger as long as possible, for the defense to get mad and take that into the regular season next week.

Curly R aside: me, I'm ok with this, yes it is a risk for the team, there will be frowny faces all over town if Jason Campbell and London Fletcher sustain season ending injuries to be sure. That said, these guys are football players and football players play football. If the Redskins are going to have any success this season the team needs to get some gauge, is the early success the team had in this preseason against the Colts and Bills how the team will play against regular season competition? Or do the Redskins look more like the team that struggled in the Jets game and were simply annihilated, like kids to men by the Panthers (op. cit.)? Let them out there and let's make this really the season opener.

Meanwhile back on earth there are decisions to be made during and after this game. The roster needs to trim down at least 22 players from 75 to 53 by 30 August. Expect the cuts to start hitting your computer screen tomorrow morning. If you have been following training camp as closely as I have then you will be saying goodbye to some players that you have come to know.

Pay attention and let's talk about how this game goes. I'll be here and over at Hogs Haven. After tonight the next game counts.

Other previews:

This is a gameday open thread.

The Manlove Is Still There: Marty Schottenheimer

Miss You Marty

Former Redskin Ross Tucker and former Redskins coach Marty Schottenheimer are co hosting The Red Zone on Sirius NFL Radio, I forgot how much I love Marty Schottenheimer, Ross and Marty opened the show talking about finding hidden talent in the undrafted free agent pool, Marty had five undrafted free agents on the Redskins in 2001 as he tried to cut dead weight, take the cap hit and refresh the roster: Ross Tucker, Antonio Pierce, Kenny Watson, Ifeanyi Ohalete, David Brandt.

They then moved on to discussions of Adam Jones' reinstatement (Marty says one more strike and he's done) and Shawne Merriman's decision to play on an injured knee (a foolish move though Marty acknowledges he may not know all the details).

Marty was hired by Dan Snyder in 2001 and fired after that season when Steve Spurrier became available. This switch will be remembered as one of the major turning points in the history of the team, firing a proven winner to replace with a flavor of the moment that turned out to be a complete failure. As we have written here, here and here, Curly R salutes Marty Schottenheimer, I have heard he wants to get back into coaching, someone give this guy a job.

Chiefs fans holding a Where's Marty sign in San Diego last year: Lenny Ignelzi / AP photo from here.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Round of 75 Cuts Complete

It sucks to get injured when the team needs players at your position

The Redskins had to get down from 80 players to 75 by 4pm yesterday (Tuesday) and they did so by releasing linebacker Matt Sinclair and receiver Burl Ives Toler. This complete round of cuts:

Released Sunday
Vernon Fox, safety
Babatunde Oshinowo, defensive tackle
Dorian Smith, defensive end

Released Monday
Matt Sinclair, linebacker
Burl Toler, receiver

Matt is a fourth year player and was a cut day casualty last season, cleared waivers and was signed to the practice squad, elevated to the regular roster before game 12 against the Bills last season and most recetly wore the defensive radio helmet in the Colts Hall of Fame game in the absence of London Fletcher and HB Blades. He had injured his back in the Jets preseason game, three fractures in the L-5 vertebra (ouch!) and was looking at a three month recovery, there is a chance we could see him back, as ever the training camp the Redskins need the spots and cannot afford to keep non core players when they are hurt.

Burl is a third year player and was also released on cut day last year, re signed to the practice squad and then released seven days later, he was signed back to the practice squad after epic fail receiver Brandon Lloyd had his collarbone broken by angry teammates, cut again five days later when Anthony Mix was re signed, signed back to the practice squad in December, his contract expired in January and he was re signed on 9 January and was cut yesterday. Based on this history I think we can expect to see Burl again.

The Redskins also released undrafted rookie free agent tight end Jason Goode and used the roster spot to re sign linebacker Danny Verdun-Wheeler. Jason was competing in a crowded field of tight ends with Chris Cooley, second round draft pick Fred Davis and 2007 blocking holdover Todd Yoder. Fighting turf toe for most of preseason, Jason made the decisive catch from Colt Brennan in the Jets preseason game (op. cit.), tangling with a defender and taking the ball 33 yards for a touchdown to put the team ahead for good.

The re signing of Danny tells us the team is still hurting for healthy linebackers with Marcus Washington resting his hip, HB Blades still slow from surgery and Rock McIntosh playing but still recovering from knee surgery last season.

Matt Sinclair: Scott Robinson / the Washingtonian from here.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Gregg Williams Mess, Redux

Gregg demonstrating how he was yanked out of Washington

With the Jaguars coming to town for the final preseason game Thursday it seemed inevitable that we would rehash the rise and fall of former Redskins defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, brought to town by Joe Gibbs, architect of a top ten defense in 2004 and 2005, exposed as vain and a poor manager in 2006, redeemed in 2007, out of favor and dismissed in 2008. Today, seven months to the day after he was fired by the team, Jason La Canfora at the Washington Post has that piece, and it was better than I thought it would be.

For those that do not recall I was not in favor of Gregg Williams as the next head coach of the Redskins, though I never ever would have wanted him to be disrespected with his reputation dragged through the mud the way it was. For that I blame Dan Snyder and Vinny Cerrato. I continue to insist it was Gregg's personality and not his ability that got him fired; there was no way Redskins management was going to tangle with what amounted to another Marty Schottenheimer, a proven winner with some blemishes that simply does not give a crap about toeing lines and therefore will stubbornly refuse to endorse or enable poor football management.

There is some enlightenment in this piece, seven months ago it was big news, that is a lifetime in football and it already seems in the rearview for Redskins fans. Gregg can now reflect and is a bit more introspective than I recall. The salient details:

Every time Gregg has spoken of Redskins management he has spoken glowingly. Well duh, the NFL is a business where there are only 32 offices to work in, it is a rarity to see a guy get trounced by a team and not come back on the surface as it being a quote learning experience unquote. Gregg is in it for the football and the money and he will not be burning any bridges publicly. Privately though I am sure he has some hard feelings. Redskins management was too cowardly simply to let Gregg go, they had to ensure that he was run out on a rail in order to make management's decision not to promote the logical guy to the job look like an informed decision rooted in disrespect for that Redskins legend, Joe Gibbs.

Sean Taylor is still close in Gregg's heart. Gregg Williams was not in the time Redskins fans knew him a particularly emotional guy, certainly not in the way Joe Gibbs or Bill Cowher express themselves. He was Sean's coordinator, worked with him every day and Sean was the best player on the team. Throw in the relationships Gregg's sons had with Sean and suddenly it is less a story about two guys getting paid to play a game than the sudden and unexpected loss of a very close co coworker.

Gregg feels betrayed by his former top assistant and current Redskins defensive coordinator Greg Blache. Gregg brought Greg to the Redskins and they worked all four years together. In this piece we learn that Greg accepted the defensive coordinator position before Gregg learned he was being fired. Both events were reported as of happening on 26 January, though the exact timing was not evident in the reporting and is not laid out in Curly R's coaching chronology (op. cit.).

Reading between the lines it seems clear to me that Gregg feels he was undercut, or at the very minimum that Greg should have shown the loyalty to wait until the position was actually open before taking it. I do not want to get on too high of a horse here, I personally experienced the same thing, with an overboss approaching me to take my mentor's position before the position was open and I refused. Once the position came open (it was an amicable move at the time) I reconciled with my mentor and took the position. Maybe I am a fool adherent to the doctrine of loyalty, I can sympathize with Gregg in this case.

And it casts Mr. Blache in a new light. At the time of his promotion in January and then again in a profile piece in May he is portrayed as someone that was not looking to stay in coaching and that Dan Snyder made an offer so large Greg could not refuse. Interpolating, this tends to indicate Greg was approached by Dan Snyder and Vinny Cerrato about taking Gregg's job, Greg said no... no... no... no..., wait how much? I wonder if it makes Gregg feel better that Greg only betrayed him for the right price and that Greg turned four years under Gregg into his biggest contract ever when Greg could have had another coordinator position whenever he wanted (Greg was the Bears' defensive coordinator for five years before joining Gregg's staff).

Greg was Gregg's top lieutenant for four years and now they do not speak and if I read the WaPo piece correctly, they will not speak on Thursday.

Gregg also feels he was smeared on the way out of town. That is the word Gregg's agent actually uses, smear. If you will recall there were stories (op. cit.) that team management was angry with Gregg Williams for arranging the missing man formation tribute to Sean Taylor in game 12 against the Bills without Joe Gibbs' knowledge. Later there was a story that somehow Gregg had quote disparaged unquote Joe Gibbs in one of Gregg's four interviews for the Redskins head coaching job.

That attack could only have come from one place, team management, where else since if it was a renegade story the team could have taken control of the message and stopped it right in its tracks. Of course Dan and Vinny denied it, there would be no advantage in admitting it.

Looking at the layout of this piece the point that Gregg's chances fell when Vinny was promoted to director of football operations on 22 January (ibid.), four days before being fired, is made immediately after the paragraph describing the smear campaign against Gregg and Dan and Vinny's denials thereof, and further details stories of quote friction unquote between Gregg and Vinny. Again reading between the lines here it seems clear to me that Gregg feels Vinny was the source of the smear campaign. Dan would have had no choice but to go along or throw Vinny over the side which he was not going to do.

Gregg Williams wants to be a head coach again, and Washington is not off his list. Gregg signed a one year contract with the Jaguars (see my take for Jaguars fans on Gregg's hiring by Jacksonville at Big Cat Country from January here) and will take another job if it comes open, I cannot be surprised by this, he has been a coordinator for five years after having a coveted head position and even if he wants it to prove he can do it more than he wants it, I cannot blame him. He may be this year's Marvin Lewis, on retainer for one year to the Jaguars and off to another team. Or maybe he will sign up for a multiyear deal with Jacksonville and continue to rehab his image and look a year or two down the road.

The interesting part is that if that voice on the other end of the phone was Dan Snyder, Gregg would answer it and come back. Of course he would, he got fired for not giving enough of a crap about management to toe their line, why would he care if he goes back to work and makes millions working for guys that actively worked to discredit him with millions of Redskins fans.

That is why you have to like Gregg, he has no conscience. I wish him all the luck of the league in Jacksonville.

Gregg Williams: Phil Coale / AP photo from here.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Now Arriving Gate 75: Cuts

Thanks for the memories

With Tuesday's dealine to cut rosters down from 80 to 75 the Redskins announced three cuts yesterday, safety Vernon Fox, defensive tackle Babatunde Ashinowo and defensive end Dorian Smith (also link here). Babatunde and Dorian were only here for a cup of coffee, Vernon has been here two years now and in that time played an important role.

In 2006 Vernon, along with old and slow Troy Vincent*, was a benefactor of 30 million dollar free agent signee safety Adam Archuleta's flameout and Pierson Prioleau's freak kickoff return knee injury in the 2006 season opener. With Pierson gone and Adam's stock plumetting every week, Vernon became a regular player after Troy went out with a hamstring eight days after signing.

Vernon's greatest moment with the Redskins came in the 26 November 2006 home game against the Carolina Panthers, the same team that just handed the Redsksins their worst preseason loss in 34 years. That November 2006 game which the Redskins won 17-13 was Washington's best all around performance in an otherwise dismal season, better really than the 36-30 shootout with the Jaguars and only approached by the 16-10 road win over the playoff bound Saints.

In that Carolina game the Redskins won with power running, conservative offense and the team stuck to its guns even as the NFC South leading Panthers left little room for error. On the Panthers' first drive of the first quarter, the team's second play from scrimmage, Jake Delhomme went deep for Steve Smith, Vernon and Steve tangled in midair and Vernon came down with it. Jake looked frustrated the rest of the day and Carlos Rogers and Shawn Springs, playing his first good game since returning from sports hernia surgery, held Steve and Keyshawn Johnson to a combined 11 catches for 72 yards.

The release of Vernon Fox means the Redskins are making a commitment to youth at the safety position with third year Reed Doughty, second year LaRon Landry and rookies Chris Horton and Kareem Moore. Shawn Springs will also get some reps at safety.

Thanks to Vernon Fox for his time with the Redskins and good luck, Vernon's only 28 and I hope he catches on somewhere else.

* I am A Troy Vincent hater based exclusively on his position as a player representative to the union and his opinion that retired players basically should suck it, even the ones that played long ages ago before wealth and privilege came attached to an NFL roster spot. That he was an Eagle is distasteful, hey we are just rooting for the laundy anyway. Indeed Troy will always have a spot in my heart for blocking Mike Vanderjagt's kick in the Dallas home game that year, leading to Sean Taylor's recovery and return, a facemask penalty on Dallas and BobNick Novak's untimed kick to win the game.

Former Redskins safety Vernon Fox stiffarming Panthers receiver Keyshawn Johnson in a 26 November 2006 home game from
here. I almost used this picture instead, it is Vernon pwning Steve Smith to get the INT in that game and Steve Smith made me sad on Saturday night against the Panthers in the preseason, however the picture above is a much better shot of Vernon, whom this post is really about. Seeing Keyshawn get pushed out of the way like a small child is simply a bonus.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Back to the Drawing Board

Can't win the team scheme

Takeaway drill: the most meaningless disaster in Redskins history, a fail of epic proportions. The offenses and defenses are overwhelmed, the mistakes compound, there were injuries and it was just bad bad bad.


Monday Sunday walkthrough: the Redskins fail miserably in their last real chance to showcase the starters, lose 47-3 to the Panthers to fall to 3-1 in the preseason. This was as close to a complete loss as you want to see. Ever.

After another bad example of broadcast coverage the first quarter started at12:21 with the Panthers driving. Carolina looked good to start, at midfield Jake Delhomme looked right to Steve Smith, the throw was long and rookie sixth round pick safety Kareem Moore intercepted that pass. When the Redskins got the ball back they could do nothing, Jason Campbell got sacked on both of the first two plays, the second of which was almost a safety. On both plays the left side of the Redskins line was simply overwhelmed from the start. Derrick Frost's punt was amazing, 65 yards. Carolina got the ball back and Steve Smith was everywhere, making two consecutive catches on opposite sides of the field. The Redskins' defense held the Panthers to a short field goal, Panthers score first 3-0. After Clinton Portis' only good run of the day Chris Samuels lets Julius Peppers pour through, Jason Campbell is hit and fumbles, Carolina recovers, the Panthers could not capitalize and the quarter ended 3-0 Panthers.

After the Panthers kicked another field goal to start the second quarter to make it 6-0 Carolina, the Redskins' luck did not improve, Santana Moss' first catch was only Jason Campbell's second completion. On that same drive Ladell Betts was drilled and dropped the ball, he fell on center Casey Rabach and as such was not down and the fumble was lost. We knew it was going to be ugly at 8:30 left in the second when Jason Taylor got caught in the pile and twisted his knee, it looked bad but later was determined to be a quote sprain unquote of the right knee. To punctuate the bad situation on the next play Panthers tailback DeAngelo Williams bursts through the line, rookie safety Kareem Moore punches the ball out to force a fumble, Steve Smith picks up the bouncer and takes it in for a touchdown, Panthers 13-0 and all the Redskins fans at the table are looking at each other. The Redskins can do nothing with the next possession, punt the ball and two plays into the Panthers' drive rookie tailback Jonathan Stewart runs around left side and dodges 50 yards for a touchdown, Panthers lead 20-0. The Redskins get the ball back and Jason Campbell cannot lead them to a first down and Washington punts. Panthers yada yada and tailback DeAngelo Williams goes 60 yards for the TD, Panthers 27-0, Redskins three and out, offsides penalty on Erasmus James, Jake Delhomme touchdown throw to Dante Rosario, Panthers lead 34-0 and the Redskins are naked to end the half.

Deciding not to punish the starters any more than they already had been, coach Zorn sent in the second team to start the second half, the Panthers sent their starters back out. The result was a Redskins three and out and on the ensuing Panthers drive undrafted rookie free agent cornerback Matteral Richardson got cocky and tried to attack Steve Smith at the point of catch, Steve juked, Matteral missed, voomp, 33 yard TD catch and run, Panthers lead 41-0. Todd Collins had the team moving on the next drive until a bad pattern by a receiver or a bad read by Todd led to Todd throwing the ball deep left into the front of the end zone... where there were no players, intentional grounding. That set up 3rd and 20, Billy McMullen made a great catch to cover 12 yards, 4th and 8 and the Redskins are going for it. Reserve lineman Devin Clark then was called for a false start, turning the play into a 4th and 13, Shaun Suisham comes in and kicks a 38 yard field goal to get the Redskins on the board trailing the Panthers 41-3. The Panthers put in the second team offense and three and outed, Redskins three, Panthers three and out and the Redskins were facing a 4th and 13 when the quarter ended, Panthers leading 41-3.

The Redskins punted to start the fourth quarter, the Panthers drove 28 yards to set up a Jon Kasay 52 yard field goal, Panthers 44-3, then on the ensuing kickoff reserve receiver Maurice Mann gets grazed on the return and fumbles, Panthers ball, they get another field goal, only four minutes and 20 seconds into the fourth quarter and it is already 47-3. Colt Brennan finally made his appearance, driving the team 44 yards before turning it over on downs, Panthers four and out, Redskins over on downs, Panthers kneel on the ball and let's all get the fuck out of dodge, Panthers win a preseason beatdown 47-3.


Soapbox: another botched broadcast opening with the screen freezing on a pregame shot of safety Chris Horton. It sat there so long my neighbor thought his DirecTV box had locked up. When the broadcast resumed there was 12:21 left in the first quarter, we had missed two and a half minutes of the opening quarter. Matt Terl please for the love of god be brave and empowered enough to find out what's happening with the broadcast. The WaPo reports it was a cut fiber line, man there is always an excuse with these guys.

Maybe the shot should just have stayed frozen forever and ever, that one shot of Chris Horton heroically taking the field the last thing that blinks out in the apocalypse, we would never have had to watch this miserable piece of shit game, a terrible performance made worse by the fact that it was supposed to be the game when the starters came out and made a statement about their readiness to lead and win. They aren't and won't at this rate.

Looking at the starters left tackle Chris Samuels and left guard Pete Kendall were just fucking handled by Panthers right defensive end Julius Peppers and right defensive tackle Maake Kemoeatu. The left side of the line was the solid side last season, please please please let this just be an aberration, that said Carolina's front seven is freaking good.

Jason Taylor going down was not a nice sight, apparently it looked worse than it was, near the end of the game hottie blonde sideline reporter Kelly Johnson said the famed Dr. James Andrews himself just coincidentally happened to be at the game and just happened to have a look at Jason's knee, which he proclaimed I am sure with authority sprained.

Devin Thomas does not look good as a returner, as he approaches the line he hesitates, maybe he is favoring his hamstring and the coaches will account for that.

As for the punter battle Derrick Frost looked pretty damn good. The Redskins are going to wind up with a good punter regardless.


Chattering class: Joe Theismann and Mike Patrick in the booth for the broadcast posited that one of the difficulties the Redskins were having last night is the increase in offensive workload, every week coach Jim Zorn has added to the playbook and the volume of knowledge the players need to know is getting larger fast. It's like college chemistry class versus high school chem, if you miss a class you are toast for the semester. Joe and Mike also had an interesting discussion about Todd Collins' third quarter intentional grounding penalty, Joe did not think it should have been called because a receiver may have run a bad route and that in fact is the spot where the ball was supposed to be. However intentional grounding is an outcome penalty as opposed to a procedural penalty and was was supposed to happen in a play is irrelevant to the play's outcome.


Omnibus: happy 74th birthday to Sonny Jurgenson.

When the second half started the Redskins sent out their second team, the Panthers sent their starters back out and the offense and defense each ran one more possession. The Washington second team offense three and outed against the Carolina starting defense and the Washington second team defense allowed a 33 yard TD catch by Steve Smith, poor Matteral Richardson was pantsed.

Billy McMullen had a good night, doing what he does best which is catching the ball with his body or in his arm cradle, in passes outside his body where he has a hard time catching with his hands, he caught two, one behind him and one over his head and let a third, also over his head, slip through. Anthony Mix only caught one pass, from Colt Brennan in the fourth quarter. Billy still appears to be ahead in the competition for the fifth receiver.

Stephon Heyer was in the game, that is good, he had hurt his knee against the Bills and was uncertain to play.

When the Redskins finally got on the board with a field goal in the third quarter the Panthers fans in that end zone gave the Redskins a spirited mock cheer for erasing the donut.

Panthers QB Matt Moore's illegal forward pass penalty in the third quarter yielded my favorite referee's penalty signal: the smelly fahts.

Marcus Mason saw limited action and looked decent when he was in, six carries for 20 yards. The conventional wisdom machine still insists Marcus will make the team, at 5:45 left in the fourth with the Redskins driving commentators Mike Patrick and Joe Theismann went in with the Marcus can't get cut or another team will sign him bit, Marcus is so on this team.

Bad on the Redskins broadcast for rehashing the Colt Brennan interview they played in the [game].

Todd Wade, yada the DNPs here


Zorn Addiction: at the start of the third quarter Redskins broadcast network hottie blinde sideline reporter Kelly Johnson said going into halftime was the first time anyone can remember seeing coach Jim Zorn get so animated, yelling, pacing between players and coaching them up right in their faces at loud volume. How long before the first Spurrier esque headset throwdown? At the postgame presser coach Zorn was predictably stoic, intoning that the Redskins could not win the team scheme, something he took some responsibility for.

Shooter: Jason Campbell was blowed up coming out to start the game. Two sacks, nearly a safety and a sack fumble, Chris Samuels and Pete Kendall just were no match for Julius Peppers and Maake Kemoeatu. Film review will not be pretty.

Coltrolled: 3:02 left third quarter, the first shot of Colt Brennan waiting to get in the game, pacing on the sideline with his helmet cocked at a jaunty angle chewing on his chinstrap. Colt finally came in at 10:28 left in the fourth, completed two straight passes to Billy McMullen. Third pass was just outside Maurice Mann, fourth pass was behind Maurice over the middle, then complete to Fred Davis then complete to Burl Ives Toler. A good first drive ended on downs, the second Colt drive was mostly Marcus Mason to keep the clock running.


Washington Post / AP recap, box score, play by play. NFL recap, box score, full play by play, Gamebook (PDF), photos.

Other recaps:

Next up, Jaguars.

Charles Johnson sacking Jason Campbell: Rick Havner / AP photo from here.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Preseason Game 4: Redskins (3-0) at Panthers (1-1)


It's dress rehearsal as the Washington Redskins travel to Charlotte for a preseason game against the Carolina Panthers, 7:30 pm ET. Get your licks in now because it is likely that starters will play the first half and possibly into the third quarter. Next week in the preseason finale at home against the Jaguars I expect the starters will only play a series or two and give the game over to those fighting for roster spots.

The last time these two teams played was in November of the 2006 regular season, it was a rare solid performance by the Redskins in an otherwise difficult season, it was Jason Campbell's first stirring performance featuring a helmet radio on the fritz, strong defense and power running. Ahh what a bright spot in the 2006 season that game was...

Anyway, back to preseason football. Winding down as we are it is time to start looking at some of the serious training camp competitions and how the units are faring, if you have been following training camp as closely as I have then there are players you have come to know, even just a bit, many of these guys will be gone in less than a week and a half. Keep that in mind as you watch them.

Quarterback: a done deal, Jason Campbell > Todd Collins > Colt Brennan, Derek Devine will need an act of god or nature to make the team, I believe he still has practice squad eligibility. Will Colt do it again tonight? And if not will we continue to drink the kool aid, some of you while pretending you don't care or aren't amused, it is Colt's world, we just live in it.

Tailback: everyone will make it, Clinton Portis, who will play the whole half despite his bitching, Ladell Betts, Rock Cartwright, Marcus Mason. Period.

Receiver: Malcolm Kelly might actually get into a frigging football game this preseason (ibid.), he is hurrying back from a hamstring and a knee scope. Although Malcolm and Devin Thomas are not going to be able to contribute much early in the season (op. cit.), they are in along with Santana Moss, Antwaan Randle El and James Thrash. Fighting for that fifth and possibly sixth are Billy McMullen, Anthony Mix, Maurice Mann and Burl Toler who has been practically invsible the past two games.

Tight end: Chris Cooley is in as is rookie Fred Davis. Todd Yoder has a year with the team and after making the grab of Colt Brennan's pass through a defender last week, Jason Goode is out with a sore turf toe (ibid.), that's a tough break for Jason Goode. There's no way the team keeps four tight ends.

Offensive tackle: Jon Jansen and Chris Samuels are still chugging, main backup tackles Todd Wade is out with a high ankle sprain (ibid.) and Stephon Heyer is still dinged with a knee, Chad Rinehart should get a long look tonight. The grab bag of other players is on the bubble.

Offensive guard: Randy Thomas and Pete Kendall are looking good, Jason Fabini is back as the top backup and the rest is catch as catch can. We'll find this year's Mike Pucillo out of the crowd of Justin Geisinger, Devin Clark and Tavares Washington.

Defensive end: Jason Taylor and Andre Carter are our main men (op. cit.), Demetric Evans seems like a good keeper, seems like the team could keep five, with the newly returned Erasmus James, rookie Rob Jackson and Chris Wilson fighting for two spots. Dorian Smith is a guy I don't know much about, the team knows enough about him to re sign him.

Defensive tackle: Anthony Montgomery and Kedric Golston are fighting it out, politely I might add, for the privilege of playing alongside Cornelius Griffin. Both are in. The rest, except maybe for Ryan Boschetti, are playing for supper.

Linebacker: injuries are a problem here though Rocky McIntosh is back, it really is astounding how fast the guy and football players in general at the peak of conditioning can come back to such a physical activity so soon after major injuries. London Fletcher and Marcus Washington are good to go. Matt Sinclair (bad back but he's a bubble guy so you know he is sure as shit going to play), HB Blades (coming back from a knee scope), Khary Campbell and the other number 46 Alfred Fincher, that guy always seems to be around the play. Below that look out.

Cornerback: Carlos Rogers will be pushing his knee a little harder with a bigger role in the offense tonight, he also has recovered in excellent time after his gruesome injury. Locked in: Shawn Springs, Carlos Rogers, Fred Smoot. Competing for two or three spots, five guys: Byron Westbrook, Leigh Torrence, Justin Tryon, Matteral Richardson, Cedrick Holt.

Safety: it disturbs me that LaRon Landy still is not in shape to play, he will be sitting out tonight's game (op. cit.). I have become so gun shy about hamstring injuries than you can just say the word and I flinch and look behind me. Reed Doughty is in, both rookies Kareem Moore and Chris Horton seem to be in, Vernon Fox is the only real veteran, Patrick Ghee and Justin Hamilton are fighting for their jobs.

Punter: Durant Brooks got all the work in the Jets preseason game so it is Derrick Frost's turn to punt in this game (op. cit.). I have no idea who is ahead in this one, typically when a team drafts a punter it means the incumbent is out so I would say a tie goes to Durant, that said I have no idea who is leading obviously, if it were a blow out one would already be gone.

Kicker: Shaun Suisham is getting a pass this training camp, don't make coach Zorn regret it.

Long Snapper: Ethan Albright is awsum.

Offense first unit: Jason Campbell was tentative in the first two series last week (ibid.) and threw a couple of floaters that would have been picked off in a regular season game, coach Zorn was not happy. Given that teams are gradually making starters a bigger part of the game as we go through the preseason, was last week's game a bad sign or an inevitable return to normalcy?

Defense first unit: the starting defense looked awful in the first two series of the game (op. cit.) yet the Redskins played well against the Jets' ground game last week (op. cit.), so what's up with all that? This unit can only get better with LaRon Landry and Rocky McIntosh on the way back.

Try not to zone out during the second half of this game, there will be some hard playing for few roster spots, this is when it gets crazy, when bodies start flying around.

Other previews
(more to come)

I will be watching this game in real time with neighbors, blog in hand and I'll be on chat for anyone with Gtalk. I hope you will join me here and over at Hogs Haven and let us clink glasses virtually in a toast to preseason football.

This is a gameday open thread.

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Bugels' Loss

Joe I'm so sorry

Today we learned of more sad news, Joe Bugel's daughter Holly has succumbed to the bone cancer that plagued her. We learned of Holly and her condition in July and when I read that Joe was spending last week with Holly I was afraid it was bad news. Yesterday she died. She was 36.

Our condolences to the Bugel family.

Joe Bugel: Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP photo from here.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

RIP Gene Upshaw

Gene Upshaw, 1945-2008

Eugene Thurman 'Gene' Upshaw, Jr., Hall of Fame offensive lineman, Pro Bowler, Super Bowl Champion and long time president of the National Football League Players Association died this morning, four days after a sudden diagnosis of pancreatic cancer.

Gene was drafted by the Oakland Raiders in the first round of the 1967 AFL draft out of Texas A&I, now Texas A&M-Kingsville, the same school that would produce Darrell Green 16 years later. A center in college, the Raiders and coach John Rauch moved Gene, wearing uniform number 63, to left guard, a position he would keep for 15 years, earning seven Pro Bowl appearances, playing in ten conference championships (three were AFL Championships before the still new Super Bowl) and three Super Bowls, winning two. After a career in which Gene started 207 of 217 total games and became the first and still only man to play in a Super Bowl in three different decades, Gene retired from the NFL after the 1981 season.

Two years later and one year after the 1982 players' strike cut that NFL season from 16 games to nine, NFLPA executive director Ed Garvey stepped down and, in 1983 Gene became the new president of the NFL Players Association. Over the next 25 years Gene guided the union through labor strife, ushered in the era of free agency and established a long term if uneasy peace between the players and owners.

In recent years Gene had come under pressure from players for being too close to the NFL owners and commissioner and was in the midst of running for reelection as NFLPA president while dealing with the controversial matters of a proposed NFL rookie salary cap and financial and medical support of former players.

Gene is a member of the 1987 Hall of Fame class, ironically the year of the NFL's last player strike, after which the owners decertified the NFLPA as a union, this lasted until the newly designated professional association could pursue an antitrust suit against the league to force nearly unfettered free agency, at which point the NFLPA was re certified.

Gene always thought about and did what was best for the game of football and despite the recent downturn in Gene's image with both fans and players, there is no disputing that Gene Upshaw is one of the most important and influential people in the history of the National Football League.

Gene Upshaw was 63.

New York Times story of Gene's death
Washington Post Mark Maske | Jason La Canfora obituary
Gene Upshaw Wikipedia page
Pro Football Hall of Fame Bio

Gene Upshaw as a player, left guard for the Oakland Raiders from here.

One Shining Moment

Raise your hand if you're pregnant with Tom Brady's baby

With a hat tip to Matt Terl at the ORB (Official Redskins Blog) comes the heartwarming story of a New York Giants fan who risked everything to hike into the Guatemalan countryside in search of donated New England 19-0 Super Bowl Champion gear.

To bring home and humiliate Patriots fans with.

This must become a movie.

Old Guatemalan lady in Patriots 19-0 t-shirt from here.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Blog Shoutout: King Evil Theo

Remain very still

On the day Curly R reached 100 thousand visits we had a comment by a King Evil Theo noting we passed this milestone the same day the Baltimore Orioles welcomed their 50 millionth visitor to Camden Yards. Tonight I got a referral in my sitemeter from a, this is King Evil Theo's blog. He is a Redskins and Ravens fan. His listed profession is waterboarder.

He scares me.

Computer monitor flying out the window from here. Bert and Cookie Monster from King Evil Theo's page.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Greatest Redskins Ever

A gilded age of football

Curly R is a little late to this party, I wanted to add my two cents on ESPN's online poll and the Redskinsland coverage of it.

At its core the question of who is the greatest anything is impossible to determine in a subject matter that spans decades, careers, lifespans and cultural and social evolution and upheaval. Something that is unique to an age, or so new that there can be relatively few peers, well that's different. I think the New York Times is pretty confident this is the greatest Guitar Hero player of our age; future games will be different and we will not be able to compare Chris Chike to a future virtual musician any more than we can compare the greatest Pong players of the 1970s to the greatest Wii Tennis players of today.

So it's specious to put Sammy Baugh and Darrell Green in the same poll. If anything the poll should be banded, with players only listed in, say, decade long bands, the better to compare players.

This is not simply because of the evolution of the game to bigger, faster players and galaxies more national popularity, it is also because there is expected and natural selection bias in the poll. Most of Sammy's original fans, the ones that would know him as more than an historical statbox, are at an advanced age or deceased and the ones that are still with us are likely not in ESPN's online demographic for polls.

So that's it, I'm off my horse.


Who's the greatest Redskin ever? Well I cannot add to Will at Hogs Haven: it's Sammy Baugh. The stats are just overwhelming, even adjusted for the era (less popularity, smaller league, more opportunity for a dominant player to stand out), he was like the Wilt Chamberlain of the NFL.

So now let's break it down by decade.

1970s: tough for me since I was small and although I was watching Redskins football at the feet of the other Redskins fan named Ben Folsom, I don't remember too much in the way of specific players. Maybe Sonny Jurgenson, his best years were in the 1960s, his and the team's success was in the 1970s. Linebacker Chris Hanburger, the last guy to wear number 55 for the Redskins, How about Chris Hanburger? Entire 14 year career with the Redskins, nine Pro Bowls, four of them in the 60s, five in the 70s. What about defensive back Ken Houston, he went to 12 Pro Bowls, including seven of the eight years he was with the Redskins.

1980s: easier though still tough, this is the coming of age of my Redskins viewing history. It comes down to three players: Art Monk, Darrell Green or John Riggins. Art and Darrell had the longevity, moving into the 90s. All were instrumental in the Redskins winning Super Bowls. Honorable mention to Jeff Bostic, Joe Jacoby and Russ Grimm, the hard core of the Hogs.

1990s: the Redskins were on a downward trajectory, going 10-6, 14-2, 9-7, 4-12, 3-13 and 6-10 before clawing back to 9-7 under Norval Turner in 1996. The decade ended with 8-7-1, 10-6 and 10-6. Players that excelled in this decade, Terry Allen, meh, two good seasons two mediocre seasons. A number of other players that did not play even half the decade, let's be real, it comes down to Darrell Green. Even as coaches and players came and went Darrell stayed in place, only missed 11 games in the entire decade, 30 interceptions over the 1990s.

2000s: we are still here so it is hard to view this decade very objectively. Champ Bailey? Four years in the decade with the team, did not miss a game, 13 INTs. Sadly the way he left and whether Clinton Portis is remembered as an all time great or merely a good player will affect our impressions of Champ. How about Stephen Davis? Two incredible years in 2000 and 2001 and a great 1999 are his hallmarks. Jon Jansen? 2004 and 2007 were a wash, missed one game in 2006, every other year this decade he played all 16 games. LaVar Arrington? Got screwed by a combination of injury, bad advice from his agent and an arrogant defensive coordinator, not before going to three Pro Bowls and helping to retire Troy Aikman in six seasons with the Redskins. Santana Moss? Only been here three seasons, the Redskins inarguably could not have made the playoffs in 2005 without Santana, he played through groin injuries the past two seasons to be the leading receiver on the team, and figures to do this again this season. The aforementioned Clinton Portis? Came at a high price in the Champ Bailey deal and is on the way to becoming the team's all time leading ball carrier. Has had injury and attitude problems the last two seasons and frankly I see it all flaming out here for Clinton.

No, the best choice for player of the decade so far, left tackle Chris Samuels, has spent his entire career, all this decade, with the Redskins, the man has missed four games this decade and been to five Pro Bowls.

Who will be the Redskins player of the 2010s? Do we already have him? Jason Campbell? Colt Brennan?

Time will tell, first we need to get through 2008.

Sammy Baugh from here.

Monday, August 18, 2008

100,000 Visits

Just trying to avoid the TILT

At 5:55pm ET today The Curly R welcomed its 100 thousandth vistor, from South Hutchinson Kansas, our visitor was using a Windows XP machine with Internet Explorer 7.0 and arrived via Google search on the terms quote general manager tom donohoe bills unquote (Curly R is currently the top return for this query), landing on this page, our take on why the next head coach of the Redskins should not be Gregg Williams.

Curly R reached this milestone in 739 days. Thanks to everyone for stopping by.

100,000 from here.

Ahead for Goode

A present? For me?

Takeaway drill: Brett played; Washington's starting offense is flashy but weak, the game settled into preseason swamp ass, Colt Brennan came through again, this time on his 25th birthday.


Sunday Monday walkthrough: Redskins starters have a relatively weak outing before turning the game over to the backups and scrubs, lots of inconsistent play before pulling off a late comeback punctuated by some poor New York coaching, beat the Jets 13-10 in New York to move to 3-0 on the preseason.

After the odd pregame introduction of Jets quarterback Brett Favre the Jets took the first first quarter possession and moved easily until Marcus Washington (the first thing I've heard of him this preseason) sacked Brett and the Jets punted. Jason Campbell and all starts save Clinton Portis (Ladell Betts started) got the ball back and Jason threw a floater that was tipped and almost intercepted. Nothing for the Redskins on the opening drive. The Jets scored easily on the next drive to go 7-0 Jets. On the Redskins second possession Randy Thomas hurt himself blocking Jets linebacker Eric Barton right into ball carrier Rock Cartwright. Randy was behind the play and strained his knee lunging. Then Ladell Betts crumpled when his right knee was turned around. They both should be fine but Why. Preseason. Sucks. The quarter ended 7-0 Jets with the Redskins driving deep in Jets territory.

The second quarter started literally with Shaun Suisham kicking a 30 yard field goal to bring the Redskins to 7-3 Jets. Brett Favre and Jason Campbell were out, Todd Collins was in; Maurice Mann should have made that catch; Rob Jackson with the huge sack of Kellen Clemens; nice draw play run for 75 yards by Rock Cartwright; bad pass interference penalty on Billy McMullen at the goal line; Chad Rinehart missed a crucial block that led to the hit that took Todd Collins out of the game. Derek Devine's first pass was intercepted, ruining the 75 yard run. The sloppy half ended 7-3 Jets.

Todd Collins came back in for the third quarter, still no Colt Brennan. The offense looked pretty good, Shaun Suisham kicked a 36 yard field goal to bring the Redskins to 7-6 Jets. The Redskins defense looked good, playing with solid backups at this point. Too many arm tackles though. The Jets kicker Ted Nugent missed a field goal. Derek Devine came back into the game and the quarter ended with the Jets on fourth down and leading 7-6.

The Jets punted to start the fourth quarter and Colt Brennan came in. And the Redskins punted. The Jets managed a field goal to make it 10-6 Jets. The Redskins defense looked pretty good during this span. Then Colt got sacked and the Redskins punted. When Colt got back on the field he threw a bomb to Billy McMullen, then a long run by Marcus Mason then a sack of Colt Brennan. Clock does not stop, a test of how Colt handles the drill, then TE Jason Goode catches it short over the middle, wrestles away from coverage and runs it in for a touchdown, four plays 80 yards, Redskins take the lead 13-10. Jets come back in under a minute and WR Paul Raymond drops a TD catch with five seconds left in the game. Jets opt to go for the win then change mind and go for the tie, no one wants to see overtime preseason football, Ted Nugent shanks a 23 yarder, barely more than an extra point, off the left upright, game over, Redskins win 13-10.


Soapbox: Redskins broadcast network botched the opening, static while Kelli Johnson gave the sideline preview, a technical difficulty noted with play it off double fake irony by Joe Theismann. He was on Monday Night Football and now it's amateur hour. Oh and the announcers? I like Mike Patrick and Joe Theismann but come on guys, wear suits. The all black Joe Gibbs II logo polos is downscale.

Ok it's just weird to see Brett Favre in a Jets jersey. And weird to see how easily the Jets moved down the field.

Boneheaded move by Devin Thomas to run all the way out of bounds on the first punt. That's a 15 yard unsportsmanlike.

Nice Jason Campbell Geico commercial, he gets lol'ed by a doofus agent that lost the breath mint endorsement but did manage to save a bunch of money on his car insurance.

An even better commercial for Russell Athletics Redskins preseason, Marcus Washington playing Madden football and sacking Tony Romo as himself again and again and again.

In the first two drives for the starters on both sides, the offense was one and one on quality, the defense was a sucky oh for two.

This was a sloppy game, it became borderline unwatchable by midway through the second quarter. At points I was truly daydreaming.

Santana needs to get a PR guy.


Chattering class:


Omnibus: some interesting discussion of football fundamentals on the broadcast with many examples highlighted by Jets center Nick Mangold stepping on Kellen Clemens' foot at the snap.

Marcus Mason came in at the end of the second quarter, by the beginning of the third quarter Mike Patrick called Marcus a guy you don't want to risk putting on the practice squad followed by the video piece on Marcus and the Joe Theismann gushing followed by Marcus carrying the ball 18 yards through the middle on the next play. More Joe & Mike gushing late in the third quarter. Marcus blasted a big one on first and ten in the fourth, The guy is going to make the team.


Zorn Addiction: spotighted on the broadcast in the second quarter, we saw the bag drill, the rationale and then the shot of Mr. Blue Sharpie with Joe Theismann gushing. Jim Zorn is awesome, I hope he doesn't spend so much time trying to develop the quarterbacks that he neglects the rest. The broadcast halftime piece was a Joe Theismann-Jim Zorn interview. Jim (active 1976-1987) and Joe (active 1974-1985) are NFL contemporaries. Jim made no bones about averting comparisons to Joe Gibbs, the salience of which goes without saying but bears repeating.

Shooter: Jason looked decent, floated a couple in the second drive. Was due for a blah game, no INTs, no fumbles so he's got that going for him.

Coltrolled: Colt celebrated his 25th birthday Saturday night, did not get into the game until the start of the fourth quarter. The broadcast immediately spotlighted Jim Zorn talking about how Colt needs to broaden his game, you can't stay a sidewinder and be your best. Was ineffective through the first half of the fourth, taking a ten yard sack on third down midway through. And then, that Colt Brennan magic. A long pass to Billy McMullen, a solid Marcus Mason run and a 33 yard TD pass to bubble tight end Jason Goode and the Redskins were ahead for good.

Washington Post recap/AP recap, box score, play by play. NFL recap, box score, full play by play, Gamebook (PDF), photos.

Rich Tandler at Real Redskins did another live blog with that cool tool.

Next up,

Jason Goode catching Colt Brennan's touchdown pass: Bill Kostroun / AP photo from here.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Preseason Game 3: Redskins (2-0) at Jets (1-0)


The Redskins of Maryland travel to play the Jets of New Jersey where Brett Favre of Green Bay will make his first start as the quarterback of New York in a game that does not matter.

How is this going to work out for the Jets? Brett Favre is an old guy, ancient in football years and he just showed up to camp on the eve of the Jets' first preseason game. He has to learn a new offense and will be coached by Eric Mangini, a man more than a year younger than Brett.

And how's this for some shit, see if you can tell which team is overthinking: the Packers sent Brett to the Jets because the team did not want Brett playing in the NFC North for the Vikings, where Brett would get to play the Packers twice a year for as long as he can hang on. Once he arrived at the Jets, New York gave Chad Pennington his unconditional release so he could continue his career elsewhere. Chad has been with the team longer than coach Mangini and knows the offense inside and out. Chad immediately signs with the Dolphins who likely will name Chad their starter for the regular season meaning he will get to play the Jets twice a year for as long as Chad can hang on.

Meanwhile the Packers missed a chance to honor Brett and go where he pleased, be damned if the team would let his signing with a division rival get to them, I mean do you really think when Brett enters Lambeau Field in purple in week one that the Packer fans would boo? Hells no son, they would cheer their asses off and the team could have come out as the bigger man in this deal, let Brett have his way and if he put a thumping on Green Bay then so be it, how long can he really hang on?

But I digress, this is a Redskins blog. So let's talk about Brett and the Redskins and how since his first NFL pass was returned for a touchdown by Redskins linebacker Andre Collins (gawd we were wasted and laughing at that point). Since then Brett has gone on to a 4-0 record against the Redskins, all with Green Bay, though he has thrown more interceptions (six) in those four games than touchdowns (four). If Sean Taylor were not so starcrossed at Brett's inaccuracy last season, Sean could have come down with three more than the two he did pull in.

So this game is really about working out the younger players, continuing to install the offense and not getting hurt.

Curly R aside: it is official, this is Vinny Cerrato's team. Recalcitrant in the past to give interviews for fear of being savaged, Vinny gave one to Mike Wise at the Washington Post, this is a signal that Vinny is in charge, is comfortable with it and is willing to invest a little reputation capital in public relations now that things are generally going well for the team. Bonus in this piece, a dig by Vinny on Jason La Canfora who is relentlessly negative about Vinny, and a frank discussion of Vinny's own assessment of his bests and worsts. Worst free agent signing: Adam Archuleta, worst trade: Brandon Lloyd, conflatulations Captain Vinny of the Obvious. Some advice to Vinny, don't quote combat the blogs unquote. We will still be here when you are long gone.

Speaking of injuries this week we learned that Jason Taylor has plantar fascitis on both feet and has at least the last two years and that it is something he manages. Still, that is the part of the body you walk and run on and that can't feel good. Antwaan Randle El still has a hamstring strain and his wrist was stepped on in the Bills game, he is a game time decision. Carlos Rogers has come back from his gruesome knee injury faster than expected, he may play. LaRon Landry is still out with his hamstring, the bane of the Redskins' existence (all op. cit.).

Other previews: Rich Tandler is doing a live blog.

This is a gameday open thread.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Redskins Training Camp Day Twenty-Five - It's Football Baby!

It is better to look good than to feel good

Wednesday 13 August 2008

Today is the last practive in pads of 2008 Redskins training camp (op. cit.).

Jason Taylor's feet hurt, specifically the bottoms of his feet, with plantar fascitis. However Jason has played with this condition for two years, including 2006 when he was the NFL Defensive Player of the Year, he tore the right fascia in 2006 and the left in 2007, he feels fine with it, I hope this does not get worse, he got through the morning practice just fine, maybe better than fine, he tossed Jon Jansen to the ground like a quote wet rag unquote.

In Quarterback Commons Colt Brennan threw a great pass, someone get Guinness (ibid.).

In Receiver Estates Antwaan Randle El's hamstring is still sore and his wrist was stepped on in the Bills game (op. cit.). He is not practicing but should be ready for the season.

In Cornerback Castle Carlos Rogers is headed back faster than everyone expected and may play against the Jets (ibid.). Both Antwaan and Carlos will be game time decisions by coach Jim Zorn. Caption this Matt Terl picture of Fred Smoot from this morning practice in comments.

At Coaches Landing Jim Zorn broke out the pad drill again (ibid.), all quarterbacks encircle the passer and hurl pads from the tackling sleds at him. Instant classic or perhaps new tradition whichever tautological device you prefer, whatever we Redskins fans remember in the future about the Jim Zorn days, we will remember the pad drill.


Matt Terl at the ORB (Official Redskins Blog) is running his photo contest winners, fifth place is up. I disagree with James Thrash, this is the better picture than the one of him running (link through for that one). Fourth place undrafted rookie free agent Horace Gant, third place is a hilar picture of Chis Samuels getting a pie in the face on his birthday on 28 July, the ninth day of camp, second place is Jim Zorn addressing the team pope style. And first place? LaRon Landry going up for a pass on defense, dude is ripped, a great photo. I tell you, I will be photo mining the ORB for years. Matt also has a piece on which Redskins are watching the Olypmics.

At Redskins Insider a guest blogger talks about being a Redskins fan at the Cowboy's training camp. It's good, a little wordy.

David Wagner at Riggo's Rag is a bit more of a player than I thought, well done David you just moved up four places on the Curly R blogroll.

Greg Trippiedi at Hog Heaven links up to Matt Bowen at a new football site, I'm going to check it out. Matt has or had a column that ran in the Washington Express, he is insightful.

Someone give Joe Jacoby a job.

Jason Taylor: Reuters picture from here. QB pad drill uncredited image (prolly Matt Terl) from here.