Sunday, November 30, 2008

Not Even Close

If you took the Redskins and fifteen you lost

Takeaway drill: a replay of week one in worse weather, we now know who is a contender and who is a pretender, the Redskins were outmatched, outplayed and outcoached in a critical game. Reset your expectations to the preseason and you won't be disappointed.


Monday walkthrough: on a wet and cold day in Washington the Redskins look terrible, are never in the game against a superior New York Giants opponent, lose poorly, fall to 7-5, third in the division and fourth in line for one of two wild card spots. Playoff hopes, once solid, are fading.

After an emotional pregame tribute to Sean Taylor and his induction into the Washington Ring of Fame at Redskins Stadium, Washington won the toss and elected to receive to start the first quarter. The Redskins' first possession started strong with Clinton Portis to the left and ends weak with Jason Campbell throwing a four yard route to James Thrash on third and six and the Redskins are punting. New York's first possession starts with a long incomplete and it looks for a minute like the Washington secondary will challenge New York's receivers. Then it's thirteen yards to Domenik Hixon, an incomplete and a couple of no gain Brandon Jacobs runs, then another fifteen yards to Domenik. The next play is a 40 yard bomb to Amani Toomer on first and ten and the Giants score first and quickly, seven plays in just under three minutes and New York is out front 7-0. After a good runback by Rock Cartwright the Redskins got the ball for the second time and went incomplete to Santana Moss > no gain by Clinton > six yard catch by Chris Cooley on third and nine. Washington punts and New York gets the ball for the second time, after passing on the first drive the second one starts with Brandon Jacobs for seven yards. A direct snap to Derick Ward on third nets new downs. Consecutive first down passes to tight end Kevin Boss and and Domenik Hixon and I am colder than my beer. Two plays later DeAngelo Hall gifts the Giants with a first and goal on a personal foul but Brandon Jacobs has no room to run and Anthony Montgomery sacks Eli Manning and the Giants are forced to kick a 31 yard field goal to extend New York's lead to 10-0. Washington gets the ball for the third time with two minutes left in the first and after a bullshit procedural penalty on Ryan Boschetti, Clinton Portis takes the ball left for five yards, then Chris Cooley catches a six yarder right for a first down, Jason Campbell took a shot on that play, then Jason and Santana Moss finally hook up for 23 yards down the left sideline. The next pass squirts through Santana's hands and then a Clinton Portis run for a two yard loss and the first quarter mercifully ended with the Giants leading 10-0.

The second quarter starts with the Redskins in third and twelve, Jason Campbell throws an eleven yard route to Antwaan Randle El so it was moot anyway. New York's third possession starts with a Derick Ward dump out for 48 yards to the Redskins 32. Two more positive pass plays and Eli Manning is forced to take a timeout. New York stalls at the Washington 20 and John Carney kicks his second field goal of the game, a 38 yarder to put the Giants up 13-0. Washington's fourth possession starts with their best field position of the day. On the second play of the drive Giants nose tackle Barry Cofield sacks Jason Campbell and Jason fumbles, it is recovered by right guard Randy Thomas. Jason hits Clinton Portis for a fifteen yard screen on the next play and Clinton hurts his neck and is down on the field. Ladell Betts figures on the next two plays before Jason Campbell throws an interception to Corey Webster on a pass intended for Santana Moss... except a phantom illegal use of hands penalty on Corey gives the ball back to the Redskins. Devin Thomas carries 29 yards on a well designed reverse on the next play and the Redskins are back in the game, 13-7. The Giants' fourth possession see them move 35 yards in four minutes including a third down pass to Santana's brother Sinorice Moss, and a seventeen yard pass over the middle to Amani Toomer. Two unproductive Brandon Jacobs runs later and DeAngelo Hall pulls in an interception of Eli Manning, the pass was a slant intended for Domenik Hixon. Washington's fifth possession starts with a short Clinton Portis run, then a 49 yard catch and run by fullback Mike Sellers. Unfortunately poor play calling and poor execution doom this drive, the Redskins get no more yards and waste DeAngelo's interception and punt. New York's fifth possession starts with a penalty on the Redskins, 12 men on the field an Greg Blache does not look happy. Over the next two minutes the Giants move 42 yards to the Redskins 38 yard line where they are facing fourth and one, this drive featured an overturned catch and no play longer than 11 yards, someone get Guinness. Facing a pooch punt, a 57 yard field goal in the rain or a fourth down try, Tom Coughlin elects to go for it, Eli Manning up the middle for no gain. There is some confusion on a timeout but no avail to the Giants, it is Redskins ball. Washington's sixth possession starts with 26 seconds left in the half, Chris Cooley catches a 21 yarder, a Jon Jansen false start does not help things. Completions to Antwaan Randle El and Ladell Betts put the ball on the New York 24 yard line, alas Shaun Suisham cannot make the 42 yard kick, wide right. The Giants sixth possession is a single play kneel down and the first half ends with the Giants leading 13-7.

The Giants got the ball to start the third quarter, their seventh possession started with a seventeen yard catch by tight end Kevin Boss and I am saying here we go again. It's three and out after that and the Redskins get the ball for the seventh time. Three ill conceived plays in a row and the Redskins are punting, a helpful fifteen yard facemask on Todd Yoder negated a good punt by Ryan Plackemeier. The Giants took the ball for the eighth time and moved 48 yards on eight plays, four passes and four runs, for a touchdown to push New York's lead to 20-7. This drive featured a 23 yard run by Brandon Jacobs and another first down catch by Domenik Hixon. Washington's eighth possession is a struggle until Jason Campbell hits Antwaan Randle El for a first down then on the next play on a receiver options Antwaan throws to tight end Chris Cooley for seventeen yards. On the next play Jason is pressured by Giants defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka, throws a little short to Antwaan down at the goal line, New York cornerback Aaron Ross steps in front of Antwaan and intercepts the pass, giving the Giants the ball for the ninth time. The running and passing games both seem to be working for New York at this point, a Jason Taylor sack is negated by a Chris Wilson offsides but on the next play Andre Carter puts the sack on Eli. The Giants move another 26 yard from there to midfield and stall when Anthony Montgomery and HB Blades stop Brandon Jacobs on third and one to end the third quarter with the Giants leading 20-7.

The Giants punted for only the second time to start the fourth quarter and the Redskins got the ball for the ninth time. Three and out has become a way of life as the Redskins send it back to the Giants, this drive featured a six yard pass to Chris Cooley on third and seven in what is now a motif of this game. New York's tenth possession, they three and out but run on only one play, I would have thought by this point they would be trying harder to grind it out, this reminds me of the season opener when the Giants had a nine point lead and were unable to move the ball in the fourth. Washington's tenth possession is truly pathetic, a four play turnover on downs that featured a Jason Campbell sack that didn't count as one because he struggled for a yard, a Jason Campbell sack at the line of scrimmage by defensive end Justin Tuck and an eight yard catch by Antwaan Randle El on third and nine. On fourth and one Clinton Portis is hit behind the line of scrimmage by Justin Tuck and the Redskins turn it over on downs. New York's possession goes like this: run, run, run, run, incomplete, 39 yard field goal to make the game 23-7 Giants. The Redskins eleventh possession is all passing, the Redskins move 41 yards on seven plays before another fourth down, Jason Campbell's pass to Antwaan Randle El falls incomplete and the Redskins turn it over on downs for the second consecutive time. The Giants do a lot of standing around in their twelfth possession, with the Redskins using two timeouts and the Giants trying to run the ball New York loses yards and has to punt one last time. The Redskins start their twelfth and final possession starts with 2:43 left in the game and the team down by sixteen points. It seems like I should have more to say about a drive that goes 53 yards but then again New York wasn't really playing defense and Washington had no chance to come back. With three seconds left in the game Jason Campbell finds Santana Moss for eleven yards on third and ten on the Giants seventeen, Santana is hit by cornerback Terrell Thomas and fumbles, safety James Butler recovers as time expires and the Giants win the game 23-7.


Soapbox: well it would seem to be falling apart. No running game, no passing game, no defense, no energy on special teams, uninspired play calling. I know it was cold and all, hell I left the game at halftime, the weather notwithstanding the Redskins seemed to have no spark today, all their strengths seemed to melt away: passing defense, running game, quarterback poise. The Redskins are so accustomed to playing close games no matter the opponent they need help even in good circumstances and this team just did not come to play today which would explain the 16 point margin of New York victory, the second largest margin of loss after the 23-6 loss to the Steelers in game nine, a game that looked a lot like this one only in better weather.

Note to the players on extra point defense, if you are not going to mount a serious rush to try and block at least fake it by not walking off the field as the holder takes all day to reset the ball and the kicker set kicks it through the uprights. Special thanks to Daryl Moose Johnston for pointing out how Carlos Rogers and Fred Smoot were simply uninterested in rushing the play, either of them could have blocked that kick, instead they just fake rushed and stood up. Carlos even started walking off the field before the kick was up.

Note also to Greg Blache, the whole stacking the line thing does not work when Eli can find hot reads, toss floaters over the collapsing line or dump out around the line like he did to Derick Ward to start the third quarter, Washington stacked eight men on the line, you could see LaRon Landry looking for help to the outside, Derick took it for 48 yards, it was all YAC.

It is true the Redskins' secondary has been good all year with good linebacker play and middling to weak defensive line play. Today, with the front seven worrying about the Giants run game, the secondary simply could not get it done, DeAngelo Hall looked the best among them.

I did not look at the tape with the same attention as say, Dillweed at Post Game Heroes but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night and I can tell you the Redskins offensive line was like a goddamn sieve. That unit has lost everything they had to start the season. I'll say it again, they were awful. I thought they had one more season in the tank before we needed to look at renewal in 2009, now it looks like Jason Campbell will lose half a season of productivity to age up front and poor line play overall. Stephon Heyer and Chad Rinehart get ready, next year you start.

All that excitement, that early season wackiness that had everyone off guard and wondering if Jim Zorn found the ideal veteran team, that all seems so long ago.


Chattering class:


Omnibus: again with the uniform tracking, the Redskins have again made a mistake by donning the burgundy jerseys and white pants, they look like the visitors in their own stadium.

Kickoff was 40 degrees and rainy. I know, I was there.

Right off the bat it was obvious the Redskins were going to stack the box and make Eli Manning beat them through the air. Well Eli obliged. Fred Smoot was not in terrible coverage on Eli's first TD pass to Amani Toomer.

After that first touchdown, Giants punter and holder Jeff Feagles bobbled the extra point snap. fortunately for the visiting team neither edge men Carlos Rogers nor Fred Smoot rushed the kicker with any energy, Jeff reset the ball and Giants kicker John Carney sort of set kick it from a standing position and it was good. Carlos even started walking off the field before the play was over, I am detecting an unfortunate lack of energy so far in this game.

9:17 left first quarter, the camera cuts to Steve Spagnuolo, the Giants defensive coordinator who interviewed for the Redskins head coaching position in January. It was Steve that first put the bug in Dan Snyder's mind that maybe the Redskins didn't need Jim Fassel to be head coach, that maybe the man they already had in house, Jim Zorn, could be the head coach.

On the Redskins second punt, in the first quarter, gunner Justin Tryon had a chance to down the ball inside the five, and he got turned around. Just another example of things going wrong early for Washington.

Little of the old Wildcat in the first quarter with Derick Ward taking the direct snap and going around the right end for five and the first down. The next play was a sell out to Kevin Boss, New York's offensive line let the Washington pass rush through then Eli floated it over to tight end Kevin Boss, LaRon Landry and Carlos Rogers collided and Kevin went into the secondary for 24 yards.

Nice assist to the Giants by newly signed cornerback DeAngelo Hall in the first quarter, after missing the tackle of Amani Toomer on a slant in, DeAngelo late hits Amani on the ground with his shoulder. The resulting personal foul cost the Redskins fifteen yards and gave the Giants first and goal on the eight. Fortunately the Washington defense solidified and held New York to a field goal.

Good to see Anthony Montgomery feeling better with his sack of Eli Manning in the first quarter, he has been ginger the past two weeks with an achilles tendon strain.

That has got to be the most ridiculous penalty ever, the two hands over head fair catch on Ryan Boschetti at the end of the first quarter, seriously an incorrect fair catch five yard penalty?

At the end of the first quarter Fox sideline reporter Tony Siragusa was referring to Redskins center Casey Rabach as Casey Ryback, Steven Seagal's character from the Under Siege movies.

Useful stat from Kenny Albert with 14:21 left in the second quarter: to that point the Giants were averaging almost fifteen yards on first down. Awsum.

Interesting bumper package from Fox in the second quarter, Redskins who have led the league in rushing: Cliff Battles in 1932, Jim Musick in 1933 (both of the Boston Redskins and Cliff Battles was number two that year, less than 100 yards behind Jim), Cliff Battles again in 1937 and Larry Brown in 1970. For those Redskins fans under 50, the guys that came the closest in the past 20 years, top tens only, were Clinton Portis at sixth in 2007, Clinton Portis at fourth in 2005, Clinton Portis at eighth in 2004, Stephen Davis at third in 2001, Stephen Davis at tenth in 2000, Stephen Davis at third in 1999, Terry Allen at sixth in 1996, Terry Allen at fifth in 1995, Reggie Brooks at ninth in 1993, Earnest Byner at fifth in 1991 and Earnest Byner at fourth in 1990.

On the Corey Webster interception that was called back on an illegal hands to the face to Santana Moss, that was pretty ticky tack. You will never see me taking the Giants' side on a penalty but come on, that was pretty sketchy.

Nice to see Jason Campbell out front blocking on the next play, welcome Devin Thomas to the NFL, that touchdown was not only the Redskins only score of the game, it was Devin's first of his pro career, and the first of any of the big three second round draft picks, receivers Devin and Malcolm Kelly and tight end Fred Davis.

Although looking at the replay I did not agree with Daryl Moose Johnston that Eli Manning's interception by DeAngelo Hall on a slant intended for Domenik Hixon was created by pressure from the left side by Jason Taylor (Jason simply got there too late to affect the play), Domenik was nonetheless unprepared for the pass and DeAngelo simply pulled it off Domenik's pads.

Great penetration by Demetric Evans and Lorenzo Alexander along the Redskins defensive line on the Giants' fourth and one play to end the first half. It was actually a strange play, right as the Giants were snapping the ball and Eli Manning was surging forward through the middle to try and get the first down, Tom Coughlin was trying to call timeout from the sideline. Oddly, the officials gave the Giants both the outcome of the play and the timeout, though the NFL play by play does not reflect a timeout taken at this point in the game. The play was reviewed and the outcome was upheld, the Redskins held and the ball was theirs on downs.

SHAWN SPRINGS YOU FRIGGIN IDIOT! On second and nine of the Giants opening drive of the second half, Eli Manning play action faked to Brandon Jacobs then threw a thirty yard route to Domenik Hixon. Domenik was either out of position or Eli threw it to the wrong spot. Newly signed Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall was centerfielding, standing still and ready to catch the ball when Shawn Springs, dashing over from the safety position, tried to intercept it and interfered with DeAngelo, neither of them got the ball and DeAngelo was clearly upset.

Two plays later the Giants punted. It was Jeff Feagles first punt of the game, two minutes into the third quarter.

That Domenik Hixon is not a bad player. Eli Manning targeted Domenik nine times with all five his catches going for first downs.

You also wonder what influence familiarity and former players have on a game like this. It has been four years since Giants linebacker Antonio Pierce was on this team and two years since defensive end Renaldo Wynn was with the Redskins.

This was also the first time in 22 games the Eli Manning threw for more than 300 yards. This game made the Giants 11-1 for the first time in franchise history. Nice job guys.


Cringeworthy Zorn: Maybe it's unfair to put this on Jim Zorn, he calls the play and does not throw or catch the ball, I counted six times today that receivers were out running routes that were short of the sticks in crucial situations: four yards to James Thrash on third and six, six yards to Chris Cooley on third and nine both in the first quarter, an eleven yard incomplete to Antwaan Randle El on third and twelve to start the second, six yards to Chris Cooley on third and seven, eight yards to Antwaan Randle El on third and nine and seven yards to Santana Moss on third and thirteen, all in the fourth. Also note to coach: all the shots of you tossing your papers, throwing clipboards, clenching your teeth and yelling, not cool. And what was up with tossing footballs into the crowd in the fourth quarter?




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

Other recaps:

Next up, the Baltimore Ravens start band four in a game moved from 1pm to 8pm on NBC's Sunday Night Football. The Ravens have been surprisingly good with rookie head coach Mike Harbaugh and rookie quarterback Joe Flacco. The Redskins have not been good in prime time lately and playoff hopes are fading.

Jim Zorn: Getty Images from here.

Game 12: Redskins (7-4) vs. Giants (10-1)


Out of the box: the rematch and is it big as the New York Giants come to Washington to play a 1pm ET game. For one team it is steady as she goes, gunshot wounds notwithstanding and for the other, if the playoffs are to be part of this season, they need to win.


The story so far: after the Redskins got their hip hip hooray back on last week after two games off as rookie head coach Jim Zorn vanquished his mentor. Now it is back to bidness as the fifth of six division games is here. The Giants are unquestionably the class of both the NFC Beast and the NFC and no one is giving the Redskins a chance. We got em right where we want em.

The week began with the Redskins releasing tailback Shaun Alexander, I and at least a few other Redskins fans had been concerned that head coach Jim Zorn had signed Shaun with the intent to release or demote Ladell Betts and after not letting Shaun get a touch in his and coach Zorn's alumni return to Seattle last week coach Zorn showed he understands the business of football.

And Redskins fans welcomed back defensive tackle Ryan Boschetti (op. cit.), Washington had cut Ryan at the end of camp, he was an undrafted free agent in 2004 and is a favorite of defensive coordinator Greg Blache. With Cornelius Griffin and Kedric Golston hurting Ryan could get in the game this week (op. cit.).

At this point I have said it and I will say it again, Jim Zorn has been good for Jason Campbell, and you can count me among the Redskins fans that thought they would not work well together. Jim Zorn has been good for Jason's development as a quarterback and Jason has embraced the offense. Is Jason ready to join the ranks of elite young quarterbacks? I don't know, is Eli Manning already there?

On another topic, what's up with Shaun Suisham? His kickoffs have been shorter and he has missed reasonable field goals the last two weeks, a 46 yarder that was short against the Cowboys and a 43 yarder that clanged off the crossbar against the Seahawks. Granted these are long field goals, you normally expect a guy to miss wide from that range, not short.

Finally, your stat of the day, with 54 more yards, only John Riggins has more rushing yards as a Redskin than Clinton Portis (op. cit.), Clinton is sitting on 5822 with five games to go this season and a long term contract, John Riggins' franchise record is 7472, Clinton would have to experience a huge dropoff in order not to break this record as soon as next year in 2009 and if not then definitely in 2010.


Curly R aside: Sean Taylor. He will be inducted into the Redskins Ring of Fame today (op. cit.) and Washington needs to retire Sean's number. Historically the Redskins have had an aversion to retiring numbers, with Sammy Baugh's number 33 the only officially retired number. Dan Snyder has none of that pressure as owner, it is his team and he needs to make it official, we all know there will be no more number 21s on this team. Ever.

All this week we read about the legacy, the people close to him and how and what the team did to move on. Yes it is true this is all a business and Sean's death should not overshadow the death of other unfortunates but it does. And that tells you everything you need to know about what football means culturally to this city and the country. If you don't get football then this may not make sense to you but then again you also likely won't be reading this.

The Washington Post has maintained a special Sean Taylor section since he died. It is full of reflections at one year.


Oppo research: it is tough to see this game any other way, the Giants are going to be a tough customer today. Going into this game the Giants have the league's number one rushing attack at better than 160 yards per game and the number five overall offense. On the defensive side it does not get much better, the Giants have the number five overall defense, the number seven passing defense and the number six rushing defense.


Trainer's table: injuries are going to be a problem at this point, the Redskins came out of the Seahawks game with beaucoup injuries on the defensive side of the ball: defensive end Andre Carter, linebacker London Fletcher and defensive tackle Kedric Golston all got hurt. Andre and London went in for MRIs and Kedric was on crutches all week. Short of doubtful, the team is calling London quote unlikely unquote though he is out of his walking boot, and by Friday Andre was walking around in pain.

Linebacker Marcus Washington, an increasingly paradoxical combination of late career frailty and incredibly hard hitting, is out for a second consecutive game, he got a high ankle sprain in the Cowboys game two weeks ago.


Gameplan: after prepping sixteen gameplan segments so far this year (five preseason, eleven regular season) it is getting hard to be original. This is the place where most analysts will try and get into the weeds of matchups and strengths and weaknesses, if you are a Redskins or Giants fan, you know exactly what needs to happen without my telling you: on offense the Redskins need to get Clinton Portis rolling, they have to account for Justin Tuck and keep him off Jason Campbell and find a way to get downfield to Santana Moss more than once. At this point the Redskins have established a pattern, they do not play well against solid defenses, see also the first Giants game, the Steelers game and the second Cowboys game, the only three games this season the Redskins have not managed 300 yards of total offense.

On defense the Redskins have to find a way to hold the league's top rushing attack with a complete bruiser in Brandon Jacobs, in check and get some pressure on Eli Manning. The Redskins secondary is healthy but the linebackers and defensive linemen are not.

Bottom line, it could be a long day.


My take in 60 words or less: in the first game of the season I picked with my head and took the Giants to win and was right. Now with the Redskins in third place behind the Cowboys I have no choice but to vote my heart and hope the Redskins can force the Giants to play down to their level and pull out the win.


Washington Post / AP preview, Gameday (PDF), the Zorn Zone, injury reports, Redskins projected starters. SkinsCast weather, it's going to be shitty weather. Broadcast coverage, most of the country will be watching this game.

Other previews:

Enjoy your day, enjoy the game, I will be attending this game courtesy the neighbor we call Tony Almeida, and I will be tailgating with my good friend Mark Newgent of Redskins Examiner and the one the only Rich Tandler of Real Redskins and author of The Redskins A to Z Volume One: The Games, the story of every game played from 1937 to 2001.

This is a gameday open thread.

NFL helmet logos from here.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

100 Words with the New York Times - Redux

From week one to week thirteen

For the season opener back in September John Woods and the guys at the New York Times Fifth Down NFL blog invited Curly R and some other Redskins bloggers to submit 100 words on the game with a prediction. They asked us to do it again and this time we join Riggo's Rag and John from the NYT. Head over there and drop a comment, for the season opener I was the only Redskins blogger to predict a Redskins loss and now this time I am the only one predicting a Redskins win.

Composite image by me, New York Time T magazine cover from here, NFL logos from here.

Blogger Deathsport: Week Thirteen Picks

Something's not right about this

Blogger Deathsport rolls on with week thirteen, I think I am going insane week by week.

TEN (-11) @ DET
Pick: Titans. Been a long time since I looked at an eleven point spread as a lock.

SEA @ DAL (-12.5)
Pick: Seahawks. That's almost two scores, I think Seattle will lose and cover.

ARZ @ PHI (-3)
Pick: Cardinals. They're good, right?

BAL (-7) @ CIN
Pick: Ravens. The soreness the Bengals feel is in their soul.

IND (-5) @ CLE
Pick: Browns. Derek Anderson can play.

MIA (-9) @ STL
Pick: Dolphins. After a brief awakening the Rams remembered who they are.

CAR @ GB (-3)
Pick: Packers. I don't think Jake Delhomme is Drew Brees or anything but still...

NO @ TB (-3.5)
Pick: Saints. Drew Brees is Drew Brees.

NYG (-3.5) @ WAS
Pick: Redskins. This is a needed game.

SF @ BUF (-7)
Pick: Bills. Tough line for this game, this is a toss up.

ATL @ SD (-4.5)
Pick: Chargers. Because Atlanta is still recapitalizing.

KC @ OAK (-3)
Pick: Raiders. They both want it less.

PIT @ NE (-1)
Pick: Patriots. This will be a good game.

DEN @ NYJ (-7.5)
Pick: Jets. What the hell, they seem to be on a roll.

CHI @ MIN (-3.5)
Pick: Bears. The Vikings are all a mess.

JAX @ HOU (-3)
Pick: Texans. Oh how the Jaguars have fallen.
Score: 23-13

Train wreck from here.

Plaxico Burress Shoots Self in Leg


Update 10:00 pm: the NFL and the Giants have weighed in, the NFL with the milquetoast headline Plaxico Burress Accidentally Shot, with bonus typographical error in the first line of the piece:

Plaxico Burress accidentally shot himslef in the right thigh and spent a night in the hospital,...

Head over there now before they update it. No real news in that one. Over at the Giants official site they want to keep it even more vanilla with the headline Giants On WR Burress. No news there either.

Update 8:00 pm: the New York Post has a typically loud headline, PLAXICO BURRESS COULD CATCH A FELONY RAP, they did a little digging and found no permit in Plaxico's name to carry a weapon in the city, meaning if it was his gun he may be in some trouble.

Update 7:30 pm: the big boys have started weighing in and there are a few more details. Bloomberg reports that Plaxico accidentally shot himself in the right thigh at the Latin Quarter nightclub at the Radisson Lexington Hotel in Manhattan. The Washington Post has more details on the location here and here. John Branch at the New York Times first had a blog post up on the NYT Fifth Down and then a piece on the main site, he corroborates that Plaxico shot himself accidentally in the right thigh but has no detail on the location. Reuters here, no real new detail in this one, nor from AP here.

Update 1:00 pm: CNN is now carrying the story and they cite a no comment from the Giants spokeshead. The Giants' official site still has nothing on this story.

Update noon: other reporting is starting to roll in. Fox Sports' Jay Glazer seems to have the earliest report, 11:17 am and reports that Plaxico shot himself accidentally. John Clayton's ESPN report linked below is later is being updated so I do not have the original post time. Ralph Vacchiano at New York Daily News also has an 11:17 am report and calls it a quote accidental shooting unquote. So far everybody else is reporting off either the Jay Glazer or John Clayton report, AOL Fanhouse as an example.

Update 11:48 am: the report is already changing from he shot himself in the leg accidentally to he was accidentally shot in the leg in a club last night. Might make a little more sense than shooting himself if he was ruled out of the game with injury and decided to go out last night.

A breaking story, I just heard this on Sirius NFL Radio, Giants receiver Plaxico Burress accidentally shot himself in the leg last night (Friday) and spent the night in the hospital. Sirius NFL Radio reported that the injury was not life threatening.

Details are still coming in, ESPN has a skeleton report from John Clayton and there is no other coverage at this time, John's report indicates Plaxico was shot in a nightclub, this contradicts the report I heard on Sirius NFL Radio.

An odd part of this story is that Plaxico had already been ruled out of Sunday's game against the Redskins due to a lingering hamstring injury.

I will keep this thread updated, my god I hope he is ok.

Plaxico Burress: uncredited image from here.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Football Thread

Because everybody loves a turkey

From the entire staff of The Curly R, happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. But your what? I always wondered what meant.

I trust everybody is settled for day and not trolling Redskins blogs, for the fools that are, I am at my awesome in laws for the third year in a row, currently watching the Titans dismantle the Lions, man Detroit is an awful team. It's a house full of people and a table full of food, come back and I'll update you with the events of the day.

0215: stagger home drunk on bourbon from neighbor's house after playing and completing Far Cry 2 on Xbox 360. Quiver in bed with eyes closed for four hours.

0630: kids awake, wife does me a solid by dealing and even makes breakfast, lets me quiver for another hour.

0800: hollered out of bed, come down and eat my breakfast, cold.

0830: fall into shower, pack for trip. Do not forget my computer and bottle of bourbon. Do forget my electrical tools. It will be a working trip to Cville.

0935: depart Alexandria for Charlottesville, have one of the worst trips south evar.

1230: arrive Charlottesville. Pour first bourbon immediately. Then push the kids in the tire swing until arms hurt. Estimate 40 bags worth of leaves in my in laws back yard. Begin watching football. Titans score on the Lions in under two minutes.

1250: Titans score again.

1320: Titans score again.

1335: Titans score again.

1400: sit down to gigantic Thanksgiving feast, two turkeys, one barbequed, one roasted, all the fixings. There are thirteen of us.

1420: Titans score again. The Lions have managed ten points in here somewhere.

1450: look around and wonder where the two older boys are (six years old). They have wandered over to the neighbors who have cool nerf rockets, a battery operated Jeep for little people and a fire.

1455: the little one (one years old) is awake from nap. He nom nom noms on stuffing, rolls and turkey.

1630: leave in laws, drive way out to the country which is like five minutes outside Cville to visit with a childhood friend of the wife. It is surprisingly and pleasantly more fun than I expected.

1950: return all three children back to in laws, they are spent and falling apart and hours past their bedtimes. Good luck to the in laws.

2015: arrive hotel, check AGAIN and there is still no NFL Network on cable here at the hotel AGAIN. Check on line and whatever the fuck says and how they try and position it, THE GAME IS NOT BEING STREAMED ONLINE.

2016: begin cold war with wife over whether we will go out and find a bar to watch the Eagles-Cardinals game or stay in and watch Friends reruns while I blog.

2100: cold war gets hot as she surfs her iPhone while I blog this post.

2105: still frozen, with the visit to the childhood friend there is no mandate for evening activity. WHY OH WHY CAN'T I WATCH DONOVAN FLAIL?????

2115: realize I am late on my 100 words for the New York Times, John Woods at the Fifth Down Blog asked me and some other Redskins bloggers to put together another piece like we did for game one back in September.

2200: finish 100 words and submit to NYT, will post here if I missed deadline.

2210: realize we will not be leaving the hotel room to watch the Eagles-Cardinals game. Get comfortable watching a Friends rerun. Not sure who I feel worse for, me or Donovan McNabb. Get some ice and pour a bourbon.

2230: switch around, find The Godfather on AMC, realize slowly by way of many questions that the wife has not actually seen this movie all the way through, at least not in a way that she would remember.

2300 (or thereabouts): fall into deep food sleep, good night and I hope everybody had a great turkey day.

Other Curly R Thanksgiving Football Threads: 2006 :: 2007 :: 2009 :: 2010

Sarah Palin outtakes from here.

It Ended a Year Ago Today

We still miss you Sean

At about 5:30 in the morning, one year ago right now Redskins safety Sean Taylor died from injuries sustained and blood loss resulting from a gunshot wound to the femoral artery, high in the leg where muscle and vessels are the thickest. Sean had survived seven hours of surgery and about 28 hours overall before succumbing.

His loss is still felt across this country.

Image of Sean Taylor leaving the field at Redskins Stadium for the last time on 11 November 2007, photo courtesy of Chris aka ctankcycles. Chris' excellent photography can be seen here.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

It Started a Year Ago Tonight

It was just another night for us

One year ago today Redskins safety Sean Taylor was shot in his suburban Miami home, by one of four men plus a getaway driver, one of them was dating Sean's stepsister and had seen Sean's house over the Thanksgiving weekend when the stepsister had a party there.

Not expecting anyone to be there they broke in at about 1:30 in the morning, when we woke up that Monday it was already in the news. But Sean, his fiancee Jackie and their 18 month old daughter Jackie were at home, all asleep in the same room.

Sean had sprained his knee in game nine of last season against the Eagles and missed game ten against the Cowboys and game eleven against the Buccaneers, all three games were losses. Sean had obtained permission to travel to Miami the weekend of the Tampa Bay game.

The burglars entered the house, Sean heard the noise and reached for the machete he kept under his bed. The youngest burglar, Eric Rivera, only seventeen at the time of the break in, is alleged to have panicked and fired into the bedroom.

The bullet struck Sean's femoral artery. The burglars left, Sean's fiancee called 911, there was confusion in the reporting if the cordless hardline phone was in working order, the call was eventually made on his cell phone.

Then Sean went into seven hours of surgery, a cadre of Redskins players and management flew Dan Snyder's jet to Miami and we waited to see what would happen.

Sean Taylor in his rookie year:

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Time to Leave Your Old Life Behind

Tomorrow you rise Redskin

Takeaway drill: what else would you expect, another nailbiter comes down to the end just don't check those total yards and time of possession stats. Some demons are exorcised and Jim Zorn says a final farewell to Seattle.


Monday walkthrough: on a great night in Seattle the Washington Redskins play a back and forth game with the Seahawks, win at the end in dramatic fashion 20-17 to move to 7-4, still tied for second in the division with the Cowboys. Every game is meaningful.

The Redskins won the toss and elected to receive in the first quarter, Washington's first possession is two runs and an incomplete on third. Seattle got the ball for their first possession near midfield, Matt Hasselbeck has to scramble on first down and Shawn Springs saves a TD to Koren Robinson on the next play. Nice to have Shawn back. Third down is incomplete and the Seahawks punt. Washington's second possession starts with a near sack through Chris Samuels, Mike Sellers barely converts on third down but he does. Jason Campbell is sacked on third and three and the Redskins are forced to punt. Seattle's second possession starts with Maurice Morris breaking through the middle for 44 yards, the Seahawks cannot capitalize and are forced to settle for a 45 yard Olindo Mare field goal and Seattle goes ahead 3-0. Washington's third possession features an 18 yard Jason Campbell scramble, a play action pass to Santana Moss that fooled the camera man but the drive ends sloppy and the Redskins go for a 43 yard field goal, Shaun Suisham clangs it off the crossbar and it's no good. Seattle's third possession starts with a run for a loss, then another then a weak short pass and the Seahawks are punting. Washington's first play of their fourth possession is a deep pass to Santana Moss, incomplete. Two penalties in a row and then it's Clinton Portis on a 16 yard catch for a first down and the quarter ends 3-0 Seattle. (Quarterly reports: Washington Post)

Washington continued their fourth possession into the second quarter, blah blah blah Julian Peterson blah blah Redskins punt. Seattle's fourth possession is a big nothing and the Seahawks punt. Washington's fifth possession starts with a catch by Malcolm Kelly, wow get Guinness (op. cit.), then Clinton Portis for 20 yards up the left side, good blocks by Chris Samuels and Santana Moss. After a silly Santana Moss unnecessary roughness penalty then pass interference to Santana's benefit it was Redskins ball at the Seattle 14. Chris Cooley nearly broke in for the score on first down then it was first and goal. Clinton Portis nearly scores but is hurt on the play and Ladell Betts goes in for the touchdown on the next play and the Redskins are up 7-3, it was Ladell's first touchdown since last December (ibid.). Seattle's fifth possession starts with a great pass to Koren Robinson and Seattle can move the ball easily and suddenly it is first and goal Seahawks. Then Maurice Morris catches a dumpoff and scores and it is 10-7 Seahawks with less than 30 seconds left in the half. The Redskins screw up the simplest things and the half ends with the Seahawks leading 10-7. (Quarterly reports: Washington Post)

Seattle got the ball for the sixth time to start the third quarter, Josh Wilson took Shaun Suisham's short kickoff and ran it back to midfield, good stop by Devin Thomas to save the touchdown. Seattle moves the ball until Rocky McIntosh sacks Matt Hasselbeck and then Olindo Mare misses a 53 yard field goal to give the ball back to the Redskins for the seventh time near midfield, Clinton Portis, Santana Moss, Mike Sellers and Chris Cooley all figure then it is fourth and one AND CLINTON GETS IT!! Washington stalls at the Seattle 13 and Shaun Suisham kicks a 26 yard field goal to tie the game at 10-10. Seattle gets the ball for the seventh time and ride Maurice Morris three times then it is third and twelve in Seattle territory and Matt Hasselbeck throws lazy, it is picked off by LaRon Landry and Washington starts their eight drive on the Seattle 35, after a sack of Jason Campbell it is Cooley > Portis > Antwaan Randle El from eight yards out to put the Redskins up 17-10. Seattle gets the ball for the eighth time and moves 15 yards in six plays to end the third quarter with the Redskins leading 17-10. (Quarterly reports: Washington Post)

The fourth quarter started with the Seahawks continuing their eighth possession, Carlos Rogers batted down a Matt Hasselbeck pass on first down, Andre Carter was hurt on the play. Matt Hasselback then goes to Bobby Engram then to the tight end John Carlson and it's a touchdown, tie game 17-17 after a 10 play five minute drive. Washington's ninth possession starts on their 30 with Clinton Portis for eight, an offsides on the Seahawks gives Washington a first down, Mike Sellers gets a touch then Santana Moss catches a receiver screen for 24 yards. Clinton > Antwaan then Malcolm Kelly catches another, someone call a priest I think this is it. On third and a foot Mike Sellers can't get the handle and Shaun Suisham kicks a 22 yard field goal to put the Redskins up 20-17 with just over nine minutes left in the game. Seattle's ninth possession starts with Maurice Morris for a first down but then Lorenzo Alexander aka Scarface sacks Matt Hasselbeck and the Seahawks are in second and long. Two plays later on third and eleven Chris Horton gets through and hits Matt Hasselbeck after the throw and Matt's own lineman falls on him, Matt may be done for the night. Seattle punts and Washington gets the ball for the tenth time, it is a steady diet of Clinton Portis with four runs in a row, two more to Ladell Betts then Santana Moss on third and six for a first down. Now it's the two minute warning and tick tock. Clinton Portis gets the first down and I am frustrated because the Redskins are not covering. Then tragedy strikes, on second and nine in Seahawks territory Ladell Betts fumbles the ball away and it is Seahawks ball on their own 22. The football gods were not happy with Ladell's fumble and Matt Hasselbeck's first pass is picked off by Shawn Springs to give the ball back to Washington. Add victory formation for two plays and that's the game, Redskins win 20-17. (Quarterly reports: Washington Post)


Soapbox: what to say about this game? Another week, another close game. Another game where the Redskins dominated the box score but not the scoring column: 30 more plays, 100 more passing yards, a third the penalties, seventeen more minutes of possession.

Is there a risk Redskins fans are too comfortable with Clinton Portis? That we might fail to recognize when he has a great game but always know when he doesn't? In today's game Clinton ran 29 times for 143 yards, that is a season high in carries and the carries and yards combined are more than the Cowboys and Steelers game totals combined. The guy goes and goes and goes. We may be witness right now to the greatest Redskins tailback of all time.

If you are looking for a good example of excellent offensing, this game was not it. Both Jason Campbell and Matt Hasselbeck were jumpy in the first half with the two teams combining for one intentional grounding, one illegal shift, one delay of game, one false start and two unnecessary timeouts.

There were several times when Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck seemed to get very frustrated, notably after both interceptions. Almost like the Redskins defense was in Matt's head? Wonder how that might happen...


Chattering class: the Washington Post's Redskins blogger and beat reporter Jason La Canfora continues to evolve into the wonkiest football columnist covering the Redskins, here (op. cit.) he discusses how Jim Zorn's detailed knowledge of Seattle's offense in general and passing game in particular benefited Greg Blache and Washington's defense.

And in what must have been a first in some time, maybe since 2006, THERE WAS NO FRONT PAGE A1 LES CARPENTER PIECE ON THE REDSKINS!!!!1!! Instead Les has to line up in the E section just like the rest of the sad sacks. Sorry Les, maybe you'll get em next week against the Giants. Anyway, Les writes about Shawn Springs and his special return to the team and city that drafted him, Shawn played for the Seahawks from 1997 to 1993 before signing as a free agent with the Redskins before Joe Gibbs' first season back in 2004.

Mike Wise writes the obligatory yet still satisfying pupil defeats teacher piece. Money quotes:

It might be too early to say [Paul] Allen, the owner, hired the wrong man to replace Holmgren after this season in Jim Mora But it's not too early to say Zorn was compartmentalized in Seattle, put in a cubicle by an organization that figured he knew how to get a quarterback ready but was hardly head-coaching or even offensive-coordinator material...

...Bottom line, Zorn beat his mentor in the stadium where Gibbs coached his last NFL game a year ago, the place where the Redskins twice could not advance in the NFC playoffs during his second tenure. These Seahawks weren't nearly as good as those teams, but in an almost must-win affair in November, the newbie head coach outguessed his old mentor.

Tom Boswell writes that the Redskins are doing just enough to stay head of the curve, as fans we know these Redskins will always play it close, we should be happy a Redskins team can win the close ones. That was a hallmark of Joe Gibbs second run, he lost the close ones.


Omnibus: it has still only been two games since the dreadful burgundy on burgundy uniforms so I am still tracking them, today is the bonus road white jerseys with burgundy pants.

Is it just me or do these teams seem to play each other a lot (op. cit.)?

At the top of the broadcast they showed a closeup of Jim Zorn's number in the Seattle ring of fame. Pretty cool.

I love when a play action pass fools the camera man. On first down of the Redskins third possession in the first quarter the camera followed Clinton Portis through the right side before finding Jason Campbell who still had it and completed the pass easily to Santana Moss.

Three minutes and twenty seconds left first half, that is how long it took Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck to connect with a receiver (op. cit.). That not good.

Department of missed it by that much: Shaun Suisham's 44 yard clanger and Santana Moss' deep incomplete in the first quarter, Mike Sellers near touchdown catch in the fourth.

10:43 left in the third, play by play commenter Matt Vasgersian mentions that Chris Cooley will have plenty to blog about after this game. Blogging lol.

22 for 104 / 26 for 116, that was the run/pass and yardage balance with eight minutes left in the third, that is more in line with the Redskins winning formula than the last two games.

Former Redskin TJ Duckett got a carry in the third quarter. I wonder if anyone on the Seahawks blogs is running Duckett Watch (Curly R feature in 2006 when the Redskins had TJ for no good reason).

With LaRon Landry's interception of Matt Hasselbeck in the third quarter, LaRon now has three career INTs, all against Matt Hasselbeck. LaRon had two fourth quarter interceptions of Matt in the Redskins-Seahawks playoff game in January.

Shaun Suisham seems to be having problems, missed field goals in the last two games and short kickoffs. I wonder if he is having leg fatigue.

The defensive line was the biggest hit by injuries in this game (op. cit.), Kedric Golston left the game in the first half with an injury to his ankle and Andre Carter came out of the game in the fourth quarter with what wound up being a tear of his plantar fascia, the strip of muscle on the bottom of the foot (it's painful). Cornelius Griffin also played through pain and London Fletcher came out of the game briefly. There is no projection for next week for any of them.


Rediscovering old Zorn: better play calling with a side order of power running does Jim Zorn well in his homecoming, rises to 7-4 as head coach, 7-4 career, if you can stay medium coaching another team, after seeing your number in the ring of fame, where you coached for seven years and went to a Super Bowl, you have what it takes.

Shooter: not exactly a picnic for quarterback Jason Campbell today, he was sacked twice and finished as the Redskins second leading rusher with six carries for 32 yards (better than five yards a carry!), those were all from being flushed out of the pocket. Still, there were only 35 passing plays compared to 41 rushing plays, this is balance Redskins fans can believe in, Jason finished 20 of 33 for 206 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions. Note to anyone reading this far down the gamewrap, it is time to get our boy Jason paid. As in longer term contract.



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

Other recaps:

Next up, New York Giants at home (ibid.) to close out band three, the Giants are the class of the NFC and this game is key to Washington's playoff hopes.

Jim Zorn: Otto Greule, Jr. / Getty Images from here. Eli Manning: All Bello / Getty Images from here.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Game 11: Redskins (6-4) at Seahawks (2-8)


Out of the box: a meaningful game in more than one way as the Redskins travel to Seattle to play the Seahawks in a 4pm ET game on Fox. Jim Zorn left the Seahawks and they started tanking and now Zorn's new team has to beat his old team to keep playoff hopes alive.


The story so far: schedule band three got off to an inauspicious start and now the Redskins offense seems to have shrunk down to its 2007 incarnation, Al Saunders and the 700 page Don Coryell meet Jim Zorn and the third generation Bill Walsh. Many things are contributing to Washington's offensive woes: injuries, poor offensive line play, lack of pass rush, all these things have helped make Washington's playoff scenario murky (op. cit.), it is no longer a sure thing.

So playing a 2-8 team is what the Redskins need right now, I just wish it was not a 2-8 with such a soap operatic relationship with the Redskins.

In 2005 Washington beat Seattle at Redskins Stadium in overtime and only after Josh Brown clanged a 47 yard field goal off the upright. The Seahawks then went on to beat the Redskins in the second playoff round. Washington had a chance to avenge that loss in the 2007 playoffs last season as the Redskins traveled again to Seattle, despite two fourth quarter Matt Hasselbeck interceptions by LaRon Landry and what amounted to a 56 yard onsides kick recovery by Anthony Mix the Redskins could not get out from under the Seahawks' swarming defense and were sent home again.

During the course of that 2007 season Seattle coach Mike Holmgren decided he had had enough and did the unwise thing, announcing a lame duck season for 2008. Former Seahawks quarterback and quarterbacks coach Jim Zorn was not aggressively in coach-designate Jim Mora's plans so he went shopping for another deal, landing in Washington as the Redskins offensive coordinator while Bill Lazor, the Redskins quarterbacks coach under Joe Gibbs, wound up in Seattle. We all know what happened with the Redskins coaching hunt and the end result is the Redskins have a great rookie head coach and the Seahawks are fading fast, playing for 2009 and the new coaching staff.

This is a chance to put a cap on the Mike Holmgren years, make Seattle realize they passed over the wrong guy. At least you know that is what all those former Seahawks on the Redskins' roster (op. cit.) are thinking.


Curly R aside: ok he's a renaissance man, we get it. Enough with the funny Jim Zorn hobbies.

Curly R aside continues: normally I love George Solomon's Sunday wisdom, coming as it does on game day rather than the day after as is the case with the rest of the Washington sports punditry. This time however he has it wrong. Yes Washington needs a legitimate number two (and number three for that matter) receiver but with Chris Cooley already the leading receiver with 55 catches, that is more than five per game, the Redskins cannot Cooley their way out of this one, Chris is already giving the team everything he can.


Oppo research: to paraphrase Will Forte as George Bush on Saturday Night Live, it's hard. Mike Holmgren announced last season he was retiring after 2008 and Jim Zorn went on the outs so he wound up in Washington. And now Seattle is 2-8 with injuries and age, is 31st out of 32 teams in yards per game with the 28th ranked defense. I don't even know why my opponent would want this job.

Still, the guy under center for Seattle is a former Pro Bowler and the last guy to benefit from Jim Zorn's tutelage. Given that Washington's defense trends toward forcing quarterbacks to beat coverage rather than evade tacklers, Matt Hasselback cannot be taken for granted simply because he has been hurt and has no one to throw to. Looking past all that though, take a look at Matt's ratings over the years in Seattle. Under Jim Zorn he played at a Pro Bowl level, now that he is gone, Matt is back where he was when the two first met. Coincidence?


Trainer's table: many players that have been nursing injuries are expected to be in the game, Ladell Betts, Anthony Montgomery, Chris Samuels, Antwaan Randle El, Pete Kendall, hell there is even a rumor Shawn Springs could play. I'll believe that when I see it. Clinton Portis is a game time decision.

Marcus Washington got a high ankle sprain against the Cowboys and is out for some weeks. It bums me out how much Marcus gets hurt because the Redskins defense is just better when he is on the field.

But the biggest news has to be Malcolm Kelly, will he play and if so can he make an impact (op. cit.)? After nearly getting placed on season ending injured reserve going into the bye, the rookie receiver has fought to come back. With little in the way of a second receiver threat (no offense Antwaan, it is just not happening) much less a third, Jason Campbell needs another reliable target or else teams will just continue to collapse on Santana Moss. It would be great if he could get in the game, I'll settle for that, I have no expectations of Malcolm making a difference in this game. If Malcolm can go that will mean someone has to sit Malcolm has been inactive the past five games. My guess is rookie tight end Fred Davis, coach Zorn does not have confidence that Fred can run a route or commit a play to memory (ouch).


Gameplan: statistically Seattle is a weak team so the Redskins should be able to have their way with them. The Redskins' number four overall defense is top ten in both passing and rushing and should bat the Seahawks offense around or at least force a bunch of short drives; Washington's offense should get many chances to make something happen. I would love to see lots of shots of a frustrated Matt Hasselbeck and an angry walrus Mike Holmgren.

Above all, Washington needs to work the playcalling balance back to run heavy, over the past two games, both losses, the Redskins have been pass heavy despite never being out of the game (op. cit.). This will require the offensive line to play better, I thought going into this season there was one more trip in the tank for these old dudes, maybe I was wrong, right now they do not seem able to run block or pass block very well.

One element the Redskins would like to work in tomorrow is some production from either or both rookie receivers. Devin Thomas has been a pretty consistent underachiever and Malcolm Kelly has not even had the chance to underachieve.


My take in 60 words or less: head coach Jim Zorn and the Redskins need to take this opportunity against a bad team to force their will on the other team for a change, to dictate the game and not rely on the defense to keep giving them chances. Go ahead and blow out your old team, coach, it will feel good.


Washington Post / AP preview, Gameday (PDF), the Zorn Zone, Seattle injury report, Washington injury report, projected starters. Broadcast coverage, this is not the marquee 4pm game on Fox, that would be Giants at Cardinals.

Other previews: Rich Tandler at Real Redskins, Mark Newgent at Redskins Examiner has a questions exchange with his counterpart in Seattle, Matt Loede at Redskins Gab.

We'll be watching at my house today, what with neighbor Bill hosting the return of 24 tonight.

This is a gameday open thread.

NFL helmets from here.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Blogger Deathsport: Week Twelve Picks

One end in reality, one end in the matrix

Blogger Deathsport rolls on with week twelve, it has been some time since we tallied weekly scores so let's just get on with the picks. Your other players:

Will Allensworth at Hogs Haven
TexSkins at Hogs Haven
Dagger at Post Game Heroes
Brian Hunter at Common Prejudice NFL
Derek at Iggles Blog
Blitzburgh at Behind the Steel Curtain
River City Rage at Big Cat Country
Gonzo at Daily Norseman
Gamecocker at Horseshoe Digest

CIN @ PIT (-11.5)
Pick: Bengals. Cincinnati has done all right the past few years in Pittsburgh.
Result: Steelers. Swatting aside an inferior opponent.

SF @ DAL (-10)
Pick: Cowboys. Can't do it. Can't work with it.

PHI @ BAL (-1)
Pick: Ravens. I wonder what other rules Donovan McNabb doesn't know.

NYJ @ TEN (-5)
Pick: Jets. This game will be close either way.

BUF (-3) @ KC
Pick: Bills. Buffalo cannot have slid that much.

MIN @ JAX (-2.5)
Pick: Jaguars. Line this close, take the home team.

NE @ MIA (no line = straight up even)
Pick: Dolphins. Tough one. Wildcat.

CHI (-7.5) @ STL
Pick: Rams. Home dog?

HOU @ CLE (-3)
Pick: Texans. The beginning of the of the end of the end for Romeo Crennel.

TB (-7.5) @ DET
Pick: Buccaneers. No reason to think Detroit gets any better this week.

OAK @ DEN (-9)
Pick: Raiders. Division game, Denver is falling.

WAS (-3.5) @ SEA
Pick: Redskins. Because Washington beats Seattle in the regular season.

NYG (-3) @ ARZ
Pick: Giants. This is the I hope I am wrong special of the week.

CAR @ ATL (-1)
Pick: Panthers. This is an odd line.

IND @ SD (-2.5)
Pick: Chargers. Just because it's a short line.

GB @ NO (-2.5)
Pick: Packers Because I do not believe in New Orleans.
Score: 23-13.

Results tallied at some point.

Big ass high suspension bridge from here.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Happy Birthday DeAngelo Hall

Welcome, keep it up

Please join me and the entire staff of The Curly R in wishing newly signed Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall a happy birthday, DeAngelo turned 25 yesterday. Minutes into his first game with his new team DeAngelo plucked a Tony Romo pass out of the air for his fourth interception of the year, let us hope he brings that ethic to the Redskins in a regular fashion.

I also particularly enjoyed that Terrell Owens called out his old spit buddy, and that DeAngelo shut him down.

Happy birthday DeAngelo!

DeAngelo Hall exulting after his first quarter interception of Tony Romo Sunday night: Gerald Herbert / AP photo from here.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Redskins 2008 Depth Chart: Midseason Update

Stable and hurting in a few areas

Hewing to the schedule bands, the bye week marked the middle of the season, let us take a look at the Redskins depth chart, disclaimer this is my depth chart and may differ from any other outlet, thoughts welcome in comments.

Original Curly R Redskins 2008 depth chart here, official team depth chart here, Washington Post Redskins depth chart here, NFL Redskins depth chart here.

1. Jason Campbell
2. Todd Collins
3. Colt Brennan (R)

Notes: no change here, Jason Campbell has started and played through every game, he has proven to be durable this year as well as a better passer. Solid.

1. Clinton Portis
2. Ladell Betts
3. Shaun Alexander (signed 14 October)
4. 3. Rock Cartwright

Notes: Clinton Portis has been a real stud, the past couple of games notwithstanding, the worry now is for Clinton wearing down. Ladell Betts hurt his knee in game six against the Rams and head coach Jim Zorn pulled the trigger on his old Seattle workhorse. Shaun Alexander has not made much of an impact and I tend to think will not. Solid but I just looked over my shoulder.

1. Mike Sellers

Notes: for his size I still wish he could use his body better, that said the position is Solid.

1. Santana Moss
2. Antwaan Randle El
3. James Thrash
4. Devin Thomas (R)
5. Malcolm Kelly (R)

Notes: no changes here, it is the same as it ever was for the Redskins, go back a decade and there has barely been room in Washington for two receivers let alone three so there is not a lot of work for the rookies which is good since they need improvement. Solid.

Tight end
1. Chris Cooley
2. Todd Yoder
3. Fred Davis (R)

Notes: unchanged here as well, Chris Cooley is having a terrific season, as of this writing he is the Redskins' leading receiver. Todd Yoder gets off now and then and coach Zorn was just quoted saying Fred Davis cannot run a route and cannot process a play in his head. As long as Chris stays healthy, Solid.

Left tackle
1. Chris Samuels
2. Stephon Heyer
2/3. Chad Rinehart (R)

Notes: after injuring his knee in game seven against the Browns Chris missed a game. He is back and clearly not playing at 100 percent. Jon Jansen's remotion to starting right tackle freed Stephon Heyer to back up either tackle spot. Rookie Chad Rinehart may have been listed as a backup early and may take practice reps at left tackle, if we see him on the field something is wrong, terribly terribly wrong. Nervous laughter.

Left guard
1. Pete Kendall
2. Chad Rinehart (R)

Notes: No change here, Pete Kendall is a solid veteran who does not miss games, I just wish he would pass block a little better. Nervous laughter.

1. Casey Rabach
2. Justin Geisinger

Notes: no changes, I do not believe Casey has missed a snap. He does get in these bad stretches though. Washington could do worse. Nervous laughter.

Right guard
1. Randy Thomas
2. Jason Fabini

Notes: since missing all or parts of fifteen games last season Randy Thomas has not missed a snap this season. He is falling into the weak pass blocking black hole with the rest of the line. Nervous laughter.

Right tackle
1. 2. Jon Jansen
2. 1. Stephon Heyer

Notes: second year player Stephon Heyer was promoted to starting right tackle in training camp, hurt his shoulder in game three against the Cardinals and was replaced by former starter Jon Jansen, a consensus better run blocker. However the major problem has been pass blocking. Needs improvement.

Left defensive end
1. 2. Demetric Evans
2. 1. Jason Taylor
3. Rob Jackson (R)

Notes: Jason Taylor had emergency leg surgery after game three against the Cardinals (op. cit.) then it got infected and he has been mostly ineffective though is on the way back. Demetric Evans has played well as the Phillip Daniels run stopping end and the Redskins defense is in top form. Solid.

Left defensive tackle
1. Cornelius Griffin
2. Lorenzo Alexander

Notes: no changes here, the Redskins are getting as much production out of this position as they can. Solid.

Right defensive tackle
1. Kedric Golston
2. Anthony Montgomery

Notes: no changes here either, Kedric Golston has played well and though Anthony Montgomery has been dinged with an sore achilles lately the team is getting good production out of this position. Solid.

Right defensive end
1. Andre Carter
2. Chris Wilson
3. Erasmus James

Notes: No changes, the team seems to have settled on Chris Wilson as the primary backup to Andre Carter. Erasmus James is a project. Solid.

Weakside linebacker
1. Rocky McIntosh
2. Khary Campbell

Notes: Rocky McIntosh seems to have grown to twice his former size and there is no hint of his gruesome knee injury from last season. Solid.

Middle linebacker
1. London Fletcher
2. HB Blades
3. Khary Campbell

Notes: as it ever was so shall it be, London Fletcher never misses a play and always leads the team in tackles. If London does not make the Pro Bowl this year then well I'll do something to protest. Solid.

Strongside linebacker
1. Marcus Washington
2. Khary Campbell
3. Alfred Fincher

Notes: it has been kind of a bummer to see Marcus Washington break down, him, hamstring and now ankle, he just carries around lingering injuries, it is a bummer because when he is healthy and on the field he is a monster. Nervous laughter.

1. Shawn Springs
2. Carlos Rogers
3. Fred Smoot
4. DeAngelo Hall (signed 7 November)
4. Leigh Torrence (cut 8 November)
5. Justin Tryon

Notes: Shawn Springs has missed four games in a row and started three overall this season so he remains number one in name only. I question whether Shawn will be able to regain his early season form when he shut down Larry Fitzgerald and Terrell Owens. When the Redskins signed DeAngelo Hall then surprisingly cut Leigh Torrence I was uncertain how things would change. DeAngelo got off to a good start with an interception and good coverage on TO last week, if DeAngelo maintains that form he will get a deal from the Redskins in the offseason and move up the depth chart when Shawn Springs is gone next season. Solid.

Free safety
1. LaRon Landry
2. Kareem Moore (R)
3. Justin Hamilton (R) (released 14 October)

Notes: LaRon Landry plays most every down so Kareem Moore has time to learn and figure out if he fits with the team. Justin Hamilton was released last month. Solid.

Strong safety
1. 2. Chris Horton (R)
2. Mike Green (signed 14 October)
2. 1. Reed Doughty (placed on injured reserve 14 October)
3. Justin Hamilton (R) (released 14 October)

Notes: lots of drama at this position, Reed Doughty was by my estimation somewhat ineffective and replaced as a starter for game six against the Rams (op. cit.) by Chris Horton who by that point had already won an NFC Defensive Player of the Week award and an NFC Defensive Player of the Month award. Chris has been spectacular as a rookie, giving up the touchdown to fellow rookie Martellus Bennett Sunday night against the Cowboys aside. He is a great player and you can hear him in his own words here. Mike Green was signed for depth and when I have seen him on the field he has been solid. Solid.

Shaun Suisham

Notes: good to go, I wish Shaun Suisham had hit that 46 yard field goal attempt Sunday night against the Cowboys, overall nothing to complain about, it seems like the Redskins have a real kicker. Solid.

Ryan Plackemeier (signed 14 October)
Durant Brooks (released/injured 14 October)

Notes: after beating out Derrick Frost for the starting job, Durant Brooks struggled mightily, averaging under forty yards per kick. He was released after game six against the Rams and the team signed Ryan Plackemeier, another former Seahawk along with Shaun Alexander and Mike Green. Unfortunately Ryan is averaging only two yards more per punt than Derrick did. This position needs some serious help. Poor.

Kickoff returns
Rock Cartwright

Notes: after being a top ten kick returner in 2007, Rock Cartwright has dropped to number 33. This may be due overall to the coverage and kicking, but Rock plays the position that gauges the unit's overall success. Rock still looks good, he is just off his pace from the past two years. Needs improvement.

Punt returner
Antwaan Randle El

Notes: lots of laughter about excited Redskins fans get when Antwaan Randle El runs forward after field a punt and in all seriousness there is something wrong here. Santana Moss has fielded one punt and took it back for a touchdown and perhaps DeAngelo Hall can make a difference here. Needs improvement.

Long snapper
Ethan Albright

Notes: he's the guy. Solid.

The depth chart will continue to be maintained under this label.

Pro football field dimensions from here.