Sunday, November 29, 2009

Game 11: Redskins (3-7) at Eagles (6-4)


Out of the box: Spare parts, playcalling by committee and a badass defense come calling as the Redskins travel to Philadelphia to play the Eagles, 1pm ET on FOX, hanging on in quiet desperation just about covers it at this point.

Quick jump to

The Story So Far :: Curly R Aside :: Oppo Research :: Trainer's Table Gameplan :: My Take in 60 Words or Less :: Preview Generalia

The story so far: Well it may have been a first last week, against the Cowboys the Redskins played well enough to win... and lost. Contrast that notion with all the other bad losses and weak wins, only the Broncos game stands out as another solid overall performance, oh last week my kingdom for one of those missed field goals.

And now the story moves on to Philadelphia, closing out the division series for the year. The Eagles are legitimate contenders looking past Washington, and the Redskins are... what?

Beat to shit? Playing out the string? Laughable? Scrappin? Hard to say any more, there have been so many injuries, so much damage to team pride, a revolving door among the offensive starters, playing poorly against bad teams, playing well against good teams, Redskins fans simply have no idea which way is up, like in the movie we are just trying to follow the bubbles to the surface.

Players insist there is no division between the offensive and defensive teams in the locker room (ibid.), we have little choice but to take their word for it, it seems at this point like it would be tough for the defensive players not to be fucking pissed at the offense, Washington held Dallas scoreless into the third quarter and held Tony Romo's receivers without a catch through three quarters and the offense could not even score a single touchdown.

In football news the team is all the way down to the bottom of the depth chart at tailback, Rock Cartwright will make his first start since 2003, Clinton Portis still experiencing after effects of his concussion suffered two weeks ago and out for the game. Fan favorite Marcus Mason is back (ibid.), after getting spite-cut in the aftermath of the Kansas City debacle Marcus has been unsigned and working out, here at Curly R we would like nothing more this week than to see Marcus come in and run the ball well against the Eagles, Rock is going to get his due and he was not without excitement last week; I still persist that Rock is not an every down back, I guess we get out own Rock Cartwright laboratory in which to test this theory. Depth chart junkies will note that Marcus was ahead of Rock on the team's depth chart right up until Marcus was cut (op. cit.).

And the Redskins may have yet another new starting right guard, Edwin Williams is getting the call over former 400 pound man Mike Williams, Edwin will be the team's fifth starting right guard this season: Randy Thomas, Chad Rinehart, Mike Williams, Will Montgomery. That head coach Jim Zorn selected Edwin and Mike over Will Montgomery is a testament to how fucked up things are on the line this season, no one can make a decision and that may be due to an abject lack of real talent.

In coaching news secondary coach Jerry Gray interviewed this week with the University of Memphis for their vacant coaching position, and was reported widely, including here, as having the job all sewed up, Joe Gibbs recommended coach Gray for the position and FedEx chairman and founder Fred Smith's son is a quarterback at the school, FedEx is of course the signatory sponsor of Redskins Stadium and Fred is good friends with team owner Dan Snyder. Last night we learned Jerry would not be the next head coach of Memphis (op. cit.), instead the team selected LSU running backs coach and former Memphis tailback Larry Porter. Coach Gray aspires to be a head coach and hopefully it will work out for him when the right opportunity appears.


Curly R aside: I am beginning to agree with Joe Theismann, the Redskins playcalling process is completely fucked. Someone out there has drawn me up a wire diagram showing the relationships between Sherman Lewis, Sherman Smith, Chris Meidt, Jim Zorn, the running game, the passing game, the two minute drill slash hurry up and the fourth down calls. A fundamental problem with this process is that some or all of the parties in the playcalling process have a reason to make themselves look valuable. Therefore the success of the team, while generally on the critical path of successful playcalls and execution, is not technically the highest goal for everyone. Talk about needless overcomplication.

Curly R aside continues: No you dumbasses, the NFC Beast is not the worst division in the National Football League, three teams are above .500 and the fourth just held the first to seven points. Look around and tell me if the Bills, Jets and Dolphins help comprise an AFC Least that is better than the NFC Beast. Granted when I try and go into other divisions it makes the Redskins look bad but you get my point. If the Redskins had an offense that ran off a lawnmower engine they would be at least 6-4.


Oppo research: It is the Eagles, what do you need to know? Tailback Brian Westbrook suffered a concussion against Washington in game six, missed two games, then got another concussion against San Diego, he is out and his career may be in question. We will be seeing LeSean McCoy at tailback, we saw lots of him last time.

Quarterback Donovan McNabb is in perfect form and has receivers to work with. On defense the Eagles are the third ranked team in the league in sacks (op. cit.), they will be coming for Jason Campbell.

This will be a tough opponent.


Trainer's table: Well it was kind of a crappy week as far as injuries go. Tailback Ladell Betts tore his anterior cruciate ligament and his medial collateral ligament, he is done for the season (op. cit.), that puts Rock Cartwright into the starting spot, a man that has not started in the backfield since 2003.

Right guard Chad Rinehart was also placed on injured reserve, he broke his fibula last week against the Cowboys, that leaves the right guard spot in some question, the aforementioned former 40 pound man Mike Williams is back from his sprained ankle and is available, coach Zorn is going with Edwin Williams (op. cit.), that position is all jacked up, see Story So Far above.

With Ladell and Chad, and rookie fullback Eddie Williams who broke a fibula in practice the Friday before the Cowboys game, the three latest players to go on to injured reserve, those guys are gone and we can stop worrying about them, of greater concern is the players that have survived and whether they will play (op. cit.).

Defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth is still bothered by a sprained ankle, his absence last week, at least in the first half of the Cowboys game, was huge, with Albert out of the lineup Dallas ran at will, at one point running six straight times, until Marion fumbled the ball. In the second half the Redskins adjusted and managed to shore up the run defense, Albert is questionable for today's game (ibid.).

And on that fumble play, cornerback DeAngelo Hall sprained his knee, he is out for this game, meaning benched cornerback Carlos Rogers must return to duty (ibid.), which he probably would have anyway, and likely will be paired up with Fred Smoot (op. cit.).

Here is one from the Department of No Fucking Duh, so it looks like the skirt blowing optimism over tight end Chris Cooley's broken ankle possibly healing faster than expected is finally deflating (op. cit.), even Chris himself is admitting he is probably done for the year and why not, if you were him or his agent or if he was your meal ticket would you want him to hustle back to get on the field and play for a 3-10 team? Hells no, the team will be shutting Chris down onto injured reserve in a week or two and that will be that.

It is getting difficult to discuss Redskins injuries in a concise fashion.


Gameplan: After the mirage that was the Broncos game the Redskins are back to an offense that cannot play its way out of a paper bag, a tailback who has not started a game in the backfield since 2003 and maybe their fifth different right guard. I think the gameplan is pretty obvious at this point, hope you come out any given Sunday style and have a good game.

On defense, the unit is weakened with injuries to key players, even so it should be decent, at this point Redskins fans are just kind of hoping there is not a humiliating blowout waiting for them this season.


My take in 60 words or less: Contending division rival on the road. Tons of injuries. Truckloads of uncertainly and a guaranteed housecleaning in January. No shot at a win. Nothing to lose. Go play some football.


Washington Post interactive gameday, keys to the game, key matchups, Redskins roster. Broadcast coverage, most of the nation will be watching this game, this may be the Redskins' widest 1pm coverage since the start of the season.

Enjoy the game, I have an 8am departure from Alexandria to Philadelphia with lifetime Eagles fan, season ticket holder and Curly R reader/lurker Wilbert Montgomery, we are off to our 21st of the past 22 Eagles-Redskins matchups played anywhere, this will my 19th straight rivalry game, this streak stretches back to 1999.

This is a gameday open thread.

NFL helmet logos from here.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

A Little Football Eye Candy for You Before the Eagles Game


Tomorrow the Redskins play the Eagles, it will be the 21st of the past 22 Eagles-Redskins games played anywhere attended by me and my game partner lifetime Eagles fan, season ticket holder and Curly R reader/lurker Wilbert Montgomery, and the 19th straight matchup for me. Our streak of attending Eagles-Redskins games goes back to 1999 and Norval Turner.

Above is an amuse bouche for Redskins fans, in that image is newly signed Redskins tailback Quinton Ganther slamming into Broncos and former Eagles safety Brian Dawkins, knocking off Brian's helmet. Brian was nonplussed and this play resulted in a Washington first down and occurred on the way to a dominating 27-17 Redskins victory, this play made Brian so mad that when he had a shot on Washington tailback Ladell Betts at the end of the game, he applied a forearm shiver to Ladell's back as Ladell was soaring out of bounds.

I love to see former Eagle Brian Dawkins take a beating.

Quinton Ganther unhatting Brian Dawkins screencap from NFL Game Rewind by me.

Friday, November 27, 2009

The Shermans

The most Shermans

Your required watching for week eleven, Danny Rouhier looks into Dan Snyder's decision to assemble the most awesome collection of Shermans that there ever was. At this pace the Redskins will finish the season with more Shermans than coaches.

YouTube from here.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Football Thread


Wishing a Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours from The Curly R, this year we are in Dumfries Virginia at the home of the original Redskins fan named Ben Folsom, also in attendance is brother Seth the author and my nieces, it's a Thanksgiving Day bash and now on to the day's timeline:

0015: Decide further bourbons in Tony Almeida's garage not a good idea, stagger home, gnosh crackers and hummus, hit the sack.

0800: Kids up, wife offers option to sleep in or go and do the Turkey Baster Trot or some other thing with people, she seems unsurprised when I choose to stay and sleep.

0900: Get out of bed, coffee, shower, clean up, prep for Thanksgiving at folks.

1230: Arrive Dumfries Folsoms, the football game has an Abba soundtrack today.

1300: First whiskey, a Wild Turkey Rare Breed, two fingers, one cube.

1320: Observe in the Packers at Lions game that quarterback Matthew Stafford is pretty good, definitely better than his receivers.

1340: Publish Curly R obituary on Bullets slash Wizards owner Abe Pollin, outsourced entirely to this excellent piece by 3rd Stone from the Sun.

1345: Prepare for turkey feast, wish for better understanding in the world.

1500: Stuffed. Beyond. Belief.

1530: Help two year old niece get head unstuck from stair banister. She will probably grow up to be our Nobel Laureate.

1615: Family Photo Fun, 2009 edition. I promise this will get more exciting later tonight. I have no idea at this point what is happening in the world of NFL.

1745: Depart Dumfries for Alexandria, we will be reconvening on the street there for the NFL Network game.

1920: All three kids in bed, watching end of Raiders at Cowboys. I hate the Cowboys.

1940: CBS postgame, I think the guys on this studio show are mostly doofuses, Shannon Sharpe, Dan Marino, Phil Simms, James Brown. Maybe I am just too hardcore for this silly studio pap. Over to NFL Network.

1950: NFL Network pregame, Deion Sanders makes me want to throw things at my TV, he is one reason I never watch NFL Network unless they are showing a game. Just sayin.

2003: Deion Sanders is a total idiot.

2015: I invited the neighbs to come over and watch the game and the ones that do not get NFL Network may yet be here, the wife is food-sleeping on my right and so far the evening outlook is all football and all blogging. Broncos game nine gamewrap finally complete and annotated.

2020: Kickoff and I get to do something I rarely get to do, watch a full football game uninterrupted, I have had two big waters, I think it is time to go back in for a bourbon.

2045: First neighbor arrives for football, packing a pitcher of Manhattans, if other neighbs do not show he and I are going to be loopy.

2215: Second and third neighbors arrive, exchange Thanksgiving stories and try again to explain to neighbor exactly what about Dan Snyder makes him a bad owner.

1230: Final neighbor leaves, go munch leftovers, drink lots of water, climb into bed, a good Thanksgiving.

Other Curly R Thanksgiving Football Threads: 2006 :: 2007 :: 2008 :: 2010

Wild turkeys from here via here.

RIP Abe Pollin

Abe Pollin, 1923-2009

A great man of Washington died Tuesday, Abe Pollin, the only owner of the Washington Bullets, later Wizards and the arena formerly known as MCI Center, and former owner of the Washington Capitals. No formal obituary from Curly R on Abe, there is nothing I can add to this piece by 3rd Stone from the Sun, go read it.

Abe Pollin was 85

Washington Post obituary.

Abe Pollin with scale model of Capital Centre, where I saw many sporting events and concerts: Washington Post photo from here via here.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Birthday Joe Gibbs

There's a Joe Gibbs museum down there somewhere I am going to visit

Please join me and the entire staff of The Curly R in wishing three time Super Bowl Champion coach Joe Gibbs a happy birthday, coach Gibbs turns 69 today.

Since retiring from his comeback as Redskins coach for the 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007 seasons, coach Gibbs has concentrated on developing his racing empire, Joe Gibbs Racing, and the attention has paid off. This NASCAR season driver Kyle Busch won the Nationwide series championship, and nineteen year old driver Joey Logano was named NASCAR Rookie of the Year. Starting with the 2008 season Joe Gibbs Racing switches manufacturers from General Motors to Toyota, and the team's overall success this season helped Toyota to win the Manufacturer's Championship awarded to the make representing the most NASCAR points in a season.

Coach Gibbs still runs in football circles, though at a greater distance these days, he is still considered a quote special advisor unquote to Redskins owner Dan Snyder and coach Gibbs' name has circulated as a possible candidate for a team president or general manager. And according to one football source Joe Gibbs provided an original recommendation that the University of Memphis look at soon to be former Redskins secondary coach Jerry Gray for its head coaching position, a job coach Gray will be leaving Washington for shortly.

Joe Gibbs may be a Thanksgiving shy of 70, he will live forever in the hearts of Redskins fans.

Happy birthday Joe!

Other Curly R Joe Gibbs birthday wishes: 2008

Joe Gibbs in 2007 training camp: AP photo from here.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Redskins 2009 Depth Chart: Midseason Update

Deeper in the roster than you want to be

It has been hard to keep up with the injuries and shifting roles, here is your midseason update to the Redskins 2009 Depth Chart, it looks a lot different than it did in September:

1. Jason Campbell
2. Todd Collins
3. Andre Woodson (practice squad)

Notes: No changes here. Jason Campbell has proven despite the team's poor performance in 2009 that he is not the Redskins' weak link. He was benched for the second half of game six against the Chiefs and has come close to injury a number of times, needing to step out of game eight against the Falcons twice before returning to finish the game. His passer rating continues to rise every season, meaning he is continuing to improve though that improvement is not as obvious as it was last season. Ball security is back as a problem for Jason, he fumbled seven times all of last season and has coughed it up ten time already this season through ten games, this is largely to completely attributable to the poor quality of blocking in front of him, Jason has often been unable to go through progressions or even take a three step drop without pressure.

In relief in the Chiefs game backup Todd Collins was not spectacular which is less an indictment of him and more a comment on team talent and execution in general. Andre Woodson is still a mystery wrapped in an enigma.

Overall the position is solid.

1. 4. Rock Cartwright
2. 3. Quinton Ganther
3. 3. Marcus Mason
? 1. Clinton Portis
1. 2. Ladell Betts

Notes: Total disaster. After getting off to a weak start and realizing he was not even going to come close to John Riggins' franchise rushing record this season, lead dog tailback Clinton Portis suffered a concussion on a brutal hit in game eight against the Falcons, his season is on hold. By way of comparison, through seven games last season Clinton was averaging 23 carries per game, 117 yards per game and five yards per carry. This season Clinton through seven games Clinton has averaged seventeen carries per game, 70 yards per game and 4 yards per carry. Because football is a perfect team sport it is difficult to untangle degradation in Clinton's play from degradation in the run blocking from problems with the playcalling, which could come from two places: a general lack of emphasis on the run and a need to pass more in order to catch up when losing. No matter how you look at it Clinton was off pace and now his season is on hold and I will bet a dollar that he is done for the year.

Backup Ladell Betts, he of the 1100 yards on nine starts in 2006 when Clinton separated his shoulder, had been getting regualr work as third down back for some odd reason, he is not suited to that role as well as Clinton Portis. Ladell had his chance to step up in the Falcons game and did, then looking like a true Redskins back in the next game against the Broncos. With Clinton sidelined another game due to his concussion, Ladell got consecutive starts, late in the first quarter of last week's game against Dallas he tore his ACL and MCL and is done for the season.

That left Rock Cartwright as the main ball carrier, Rock has been with the Redskins his entire eight year career and before last week's game had not had ten carries in a game since Steve Spurrier was coach in 2003 and had not had 100 yards rushing in a game since 2005, quite the odd pair of stats. He now becomes the lead dog, his day against Dallas was not great overall with a 34 yard run padding his numbers.

Quinton Ganther was signed in the destructive aftermath of the Chiefs game, he has experience on special teams and has seen some plays on offense, including a great play standing up Broncos and former Eagles safety Brian Dawkins, knocking his helmet off. Quinton is a big back and may figure in as the season goes on and the team sees what it has for next season, at this point he is not a serious option as an every down back.

Marcus Mason has been the team's punching bag, cut in the playcalling purge following the Chiefs game and then re signed this week after Ladell Betts went onto injured reserve. Marcus has a great handle on the ball carrying part of the position, he is not spectacular on special teams and has missed blocking assignments in the backfield, leading to hits, sacks and hurries. I for one am happy to have him back.

All in all this position is a total wreck for the team.

1. Mike Sellers
2. Eddie Williams (R)

Notes: Mike Sellers has drawn some fan ire, including mine, for his performance, maybe because he is falling into the same vortex as the team, maybe due to his 34 years, maybe due to his big new paycheck, maybe for another reason, he is not the same fullback he has been. Rookie Eddie Williams ganked up his knee in practice Friday, he was promoted from the practice squad in the aftermath of tight end Chris Cooley's injury, Eddie is just one of three guys to go onto injured reserve this week. This position is underperforming.

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

Notes: Another season, another abject fail in the effprt to bring along another receiver or two. Malcolm Kelly assumed the quote number two unquote position to start the season though that was really about the team's distinction between a wideout and slot receiver and then gave it up to Devin Thomas who lost it to Malcolm in training camp.

The reality is neither of these guys is getting much done this year, Devin has twelve catches and Malcolm has ten catches and we are ten games into the season.

Antwaan Randle El continues to be the team's actual number two receiver, always coming up with a big catch now and again and keeping drives alive over the middle, at this point you know what you are getting from Antwaan. Marko Mitchell, a seventh round pick, has seen some playing time, he may show promise but the team has structural problems in the passing game that Marko cannot fix.

The receiver position is suffering.

Tight end
1. 3. Fred Davis
2. Todd Yoder
? 1. Chris Cooley

Notes: Chris Cooley, to that point Jason Campbell's most frequent target, broke his ankle in game seven against the Eagles, the instant reporting was that Chris was likely headed for injured reserve, then over the next few days became more optimistic. Now that the first deadline to get his walking boot off has passed it is becoming more obvious that the secondary reporting was optimistic and the primary reeporting closer to true. If I were Chris I would be in no hurry to come back in the this trainwreck of a season, I would want to slow walk recovery and shut it down for 2009. Bet a dollar that is how it goes down.

Fred Davis, the bumbling second round draft pick from last season then got his cahnce to step it up, for every great catch and solid downfield contact he makes he misses a blocking assignment or tips an easy catch and has it intercepted. Fred is not a solid starting tight end and will not be on his current trajectory. If the team is really going to stick with this guy he really needs to bear down in the offseason.

Todd Yoder remains on his strict diet of nine catches and two touchdowns per season. The team really should work him into the passing game with more regularity, he is no Chris Cooley when it comes to route running and nifty moves, then again we could use his blocking and will take him as a short yardage over the middle option as a result.

This position is somewhat uncertain.

Left tackle
1. Levi Jones
2. 2/3. Stephon Heyer
3. 2/3. D'Anthony Batiste
1. Chris Samuels

Notes: Another complete trainwreck. Ten year Redskin Chris Samuels, already coming off a torn triceps suffered last season, injured his neck in game five against the Panthers, it came to light that Chris has suffered from spinal stenosis, after seeing specialists and learning he could be paralyzed with another hit, the team put him on injured reserve, Chris likely will retire after this season.

Starting right tackle Stephon Heyer then moved over to play left tackle as called for in the original depth chart, Stephon started three games before Levi Jones, signed off the street, moved into the position, and it is his for the season, barring injury, Levi acquitted himself against Denver's Elvis Dumervil, an NFL sack leader, and I would not be surprised to see the Redskins make a long term offer to Levi in the offeason to stopgap this position and obviate the need to use their number one pick in the 2010 draft on a left tackle.

This position is on the downside of unsettled.

Left guard
1. Derrick Dockery
2/3. Edwin Williams (R)
2/3. Will Montgomery

Notes: No changes here, left guard has been the only solid position along the offensive line all season, except for a blow here and there we have not seen anyone else at left guard besides Derrick. This position is solid.

1. Casey Rabach
2. Will Montgomery

Notes: No changes here either, Casey Rabach is not a Pro Bowler but at this point we will take any healthy regular center we can get. This position is solid enough.

Right guard
1. 2. 1. Mike Williams
2. Edwin Williams (R)
3. 1. Will Montgomery
1. 3. 1. 2. Chad Rinehart
1. Randy Thomas

Notes: Another complete trainwreck of a position, after openly worrying that 33 year old Randy Thomas might not make sixteen games after two offseason surgeries, the team did little to backstop the position, when Randy went down in game two against St. Louis with a torn triceps and wound up on injured reserve it was at least eleven games earlier than the team expected. Backup and second year man Chad Rinehart went in for two games but did not acquit himself, he was benched, which he took pretty hard by all accounts.

Former 400 pound man Mike Williams, who was previously not on the depth chart at right gaurd, started one game and in that one game he injured himself, Will Montgomery was forced to come into the game because the team in its wisdom had made Chad Rinehart inactive for the game, so far and fast had he fallen that he could not even get into the game if the team needed him.

Will Montgomery then started three games in a row, including Clinton Portis' first one hundred yard rushing game of the season, before offensive line coach Joe Bugel lobbied hard for Chad to get another shot. Chad was reinserted into the lineup for the Broncos game when Ladell Betts and company galloped to 159 yards total rushing. It looked as though Buges was right to figh tfor his guy, until Chad got his leg rolled this past week at Dallas, breaking his fibula and ending his season on injured reserve.

According to the reporting so far this week, undrafted rookie Edwin Williams will get the start only if Mike Williams' ankle is healed.

This position is in flames.

Right tackle
1. 2. 1. Stephon Heyer
2. 1. 2. Mike Williams
3. D'Anthony Batiste

Notes: Stephon Heyer assumed the job after the offseason release of ten year Redskin Jon Jansen and held the position for five starts until left tackle Chris Samuels injured his neck and went on injured reserve. Stephon then moved over to left tackle where he played some as a rookie and former 400 pound man Mike Williams assumed the right tackle spot, as called for in the original depth chart.

Mike started three games at right tackle until newly signed left tackle Levi Jones was ready to take that spot, then sliding Stephon back over to his original position of right tackle. Mike's place was taken briefly by D'Anthony Batiste when he hurt his ankle and Stephon was anchoring the left.

Having Mike and D'Anthony as spare parts for either both the tackle and guard spots is not exactly comforting. This position is also in flames.

As predicted in the original 2009 depth chart, the offensive line remains the 2009 Redskins weakest unit.

Left defensive end
1. Phillip Daniels
2. 2/3. Jeremy Jarmon
3. 2/3. Renaldo Wynn

Notes: This position has been solid, Phillip Daniels is a crafty old veteran of 36 playing with a town biceps but, is getting the job done. When Phillip gets a blow we see Jeremy Jarmon in there more than any other bench player, Renaldo Wynn is a spare part and was cut twice in the pursuit of a temporary punter, he is insurance. This position is solid.

Left defensive tackle
1. Cornelius Griffin
2. Kedric Golston

Notes: No change here, this position is basking in the reflected light of Albert Haynesworth, Cornelius Griffin is the lead player here and we see a great deal of Kedric Golston in the three man rotation at the tackle positions. This position is solid.

Right defensive tackle
1. Albert Haynesworth
2. Kedric Golston
3. 2. Anthony Montgomery

Notes: Albert Haynesworth has indisputably helped this team's pass rush as he has drawn double teams and opened avenues for other players to get to the quarterback. Albert needs a blow now and then and then again and maybe once more, and the team responded by running a three man rotation with Albert, Cornelius Griffin and Kedric Golston, you are liable to see Kedric at either defensive tackle position, whoever needs the blow and whichever set the team is running.

After going neck and neck with his 2006 draftmate Kedric, Anthony Montgomery has fallen way down the depth chart, he has been inactive every game this season except for this past week against Dallas when Albert was out with an ankle injury. If you had ten games as the time when Albert would miss his first game to keep his streak of consecutive seasons without sixteen starts then see the lady at the payout window.

This position is solid.

Right defensive end
1. Andre Carter
2. Lorenzo Alexander

Notes: No change here, Andre Carter has been a huge beneficiary of Albert Hayensworth's presence, racking up eight sacks so far in 2009. As called for in the original depth chart the bench player most often seen in Andre's spot is jack of all trades Lorenzo Alexander aka Scarface. This position is solid.

Weakside linebacker
1. Rocky McIntosh
2. 3. HB Blades
3. 2. Robert Henson (R)

Notes: Rocky McIntosh has basically played the whole season at weakside and he is having a good season and is strong at the point where he began to fade last season after his recovery from his gruesome 2007 injury. He looks bigger and has good movement, if only he had pulled in that easy interception in this past game against the Cowboys! What little time Rocky is out he is spelled by HB Blades, who also plays in the four linebacker set. Doofus Robert Henson has been inactive every game but one this season. This position is solid in need of depth.

Middle linebacker
1. London Fletcher
2. HB Blades
3. Robert Henson (R)

Notes: No big surprise, London Fletcher rarely comes out of the game and is leading the team in tackles and assists. Someday he may fade on us and a couple of times he has been caught behind the play but then again who hasn't. As dictated by the original depth chart HB Blades spells London and Robert Henson does not play. This position is solid.

Strongside linebacker
1. Brian Orakpo (R)
2. Chris Wilson
3. Robert Henson (R)

Notes: Quite an experiment this season has been at the strongside linebacker position for the Redskins, rookie Brian Orakpo has at times been more defensive end, or as his position is often referred to on Curly R, hybrid defensive endbacker, than linebacker but there is simply no question that he belongs on the field with the starters. Brian can improve on his defensive reads from the standing position and his impressive pass rushing skills give him the cover time for that improvement.

Chris Wilson was a man without a position at the start of the season, an Andre Carter type light pass rusher with no real experience at linebacker, then the team acquired Brian Orakpo. The decision was made to put Chris in at the same hybrid position and to the extent that you can take two football players and introduce them both to a new position at the highest level of the game, it has been a success, with more playing time Chris' numbers may look more like Brian's. Chris is a good backup to Brian and a Curly R favorite. This position is solid and improving.

1. DeAngelo Hall
2. Carlos Rogers
3. Fred Smoot
4. Justin Tryon
5. Byron Westbrook
6. Kevin Barnes (R)

Notes: For the first two seasons Curly R put together a depth chart, we simply listed the cornerbacks in order of skill and influence, this season in the original depth chart we broke them up into Man Corner and Zone Corner based on my personal evaluation of skills, performance and roster breakdown. As the season unfolded though I realized the Redskins play zone and man-zone almost exclusively so for this update we are folding them all back into a single category, I have observed that the Redskins cornerbacks are largely interchangeable this season in that they are exhibiting many of the same tendencies which I presume is about coaching.

DeAngelo Hall is still the lead dog among the cornerbacks, he is maddening to watch at time, gives a big cushion and does seem to use his man skills and ability to play the ball as often as he should. That said DeAngelo has been a big part of a Redskins defense that currently ranks number one against the pass as measured by opponents' passing yards per game. There must be a way better to use DeAngelo's man skills.

Carlos Rogers is still the provisional second cornerback, even as he was benched for biting on receiver double moves in both the Eagles game seven and the Broncos game nine. He did get in the game this past week but was not a starter and Fred Smoot seemed to play most of the snaps at second cornerback. When he is in the game we have seen this season the same thing we have seen from Carlos for his previous four seasons, flashes of excellent play, giving up too many big plays, too often disappearing into the game and a maddening inability to catch an interception. His status as the season winds down will be interesting to see, Carlos' contract expires after this season, will the team push him to see what they have or to showcase him? Or will they shut him down and wait around like a pimp to see who makes an offer for him?

Fred Smoot has acquitted himself as a starter, he and DeAngelo actually make a good pair when backed by solid safety play (see below). Justin Tryon is much improved over last season, he appears as third cornerback as often Fred when Carlos is in at number two. Byron Westbrook has appeared in every game but one and sees most of his time on special teams. Rookie third round pick Kevin Barnes has been inactive every game this season.

These positions are solid... for now.

Free safety
1. LaRon Landry
2. Kareem Moore

Notes: No changes here in terms of depth, LaRon could be playing better, too much poor tackling and some bad decision making in pass coverage though LaRon did have an excellent game this past week against the Cowboys. LaRon seems to be having a season reminscent of Sean Taylor's 2006 where he just looked lost and not into it, Sean rebounded for 2007, such as it was.

Kareem Moore has been sighted lately, the pipe dream that LaRon could play more snaps closer to the line in the absence of Chris Horton is not playing out well, if the Redskins want to put LaRon Landry at strong safety they will need to get a better free safety to replace him and then decide what to do with two good hard hitting strong safeties. This position is solid all things considered.

Strong safety
1. 2. Reed Doughty
2. Lendy Holmes (R)
2. 1. Chris Horton

Notes: Chris Horton entered training camp as the incumbent and won the starting job over Reed Doughty to open the season, after three games and some good and bad plays Chris was benched in favor of Reed who there is simply no question benefited from back surgery last season and has been a really good player, I still tend to think that specific move to bench Chris was driven by a need to change something after the Lions game three left the Redskins 1-2.

Reed has played well in the starting spot, he is the team's second leading tackler, and despite not being the quote starter unquote Chris saw tons of playing time as the season wore on, he injured a toe, suffering ligament damage in game eight against the Falcons and went onto injured reserve. Undrafted (op. cit.) rookie Lendy Holmes was signed off the practice squad to replace Chris, Lendy has not seen much playing time as Kareem Moore and Fred Smoot as combo safety-corner have gotten the snaps.

This position is solid.

Shaun Suisham

Notes: Up until this past game ten against the Cowboys, Shaun Suisham was twelve for twelve in the 2009 season, then Shaun shanked two, either of which would have given the Redskins a two score lead but I digress. Shaun has been solid and made the kicks asked of him. The team has found a kicker that can figure out how to use. This position is solid.

1. Hunter Smith
2. Glenn Pakulak
3. Sam Paulescu

Notes: Hunter Smith strained his groin in game four against the Buccaneers, journeyman Glenn Pakulak was signed as a temporary replacement, punted in games five and six, Hunter was back for game seven, he reinjured his groin and was almost placed on injured reserve, the team signed Sam Paulescu as a stopgap, Sam punted in game eight against the Falcons, and Hunter has been back in the saddle for the past two games. This position is solid... when Hunter Smith is in the game.

Kickoff returns
1. 2. Devin Thomas
2. 1. Rock Cartwright

Notes: With Rock Cartwright's field promotion to primary tailback, Devin Thomas steps up from what was really a hypothetical number two kick return position to become the primary kickoff return man, Rock returned 28 up until last week and Devin had returned one, then in the Cowboys game Devin returned both kicks, averaging 28 yards per return, Devin is inexperienced at the craft. This position is on the downside of solid.

Punt returns
Antwaan Randle El
DeAngelo Hall
Santana Moss

Notes: Antwaan Randle El assumed punt return duties this season, something many Redskins fans wished he had not, through ten games this season Antwaan is tied for the league lead with fourteen fair catches and has only twelve actual returns. During the bye week head coach Jim Zorn announced that DeAngelo Hall would be be taking most of the returns going forward, along with Santana Moss, then backed down when confronted by Antwaan, since then Antwaan has still taken most of the punt returns. This must end and the Redskins must have a new punt returner. This position is weak.

Long snapper
Ethan Albright

Notes: Nuff said.

Other Curly R depth charts: 2007 :: 2007 Midseason Update :: 2008 :: 2008 Midseason Update :: 2009

Pro football field dimensions from here.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Department of Bad News: Chad Rinehart


Ladell Betts was not the only Redskin to be lost for the season two weeks ago in game ten against Dallas, Redskins second year right guard Chad Rinehart suffered a broken right fibula early in the third quarter, he too was placed on the injured reserve list on Monday 23 November 2009 and will miss the final six games of the season, he was rolled in the pile after a play.

The fibula, or calf bone, is there mainly to serve as an attachment for musculature and does not support weight. As such it is considerably more fragile than its partner, the tibia or shin bone.

After 33 year old right guard Randy Thomas tore a triceps in game two against the St. Louis Rams, Chad, a third round draft pick in 2008, stepped in and started two games, a bad loss at the Lions and a meager win against the Buccaneers, former 400 pound man Mike Williams then started one game, a loss against the Panthers, thereafter head coach Jim Zorn opened up a competition between Chad and fifth year free agent Will Montgomery, Will ultimately won and Chad was demoted to the inactive list by all accounts Chad took the demotion very hard, an anonymous NFL talent evaluator even going so far as to call Chad quote just a guy unquote.

Will started three games, all losses, before offensive line coach Joe Bugel lobbied the coaching staff to give Chad another chance, Chad got the start at right guard against Denver and helped to propel promoted tailback Ladell Betts to 114 yards.

All of Redskinsland was united in joy, even if a limited type of joy, that the same five offensive linemen would be starting the next game at Dallas, and in that game Chad was injured.

The surgery to repair this injury is routine and Chad should be back and ready to go for the 2010 season.


Rookie reserve fullback Eddie Williams was also moved to injured reserve Monday (op. cit.), he broke a fibula Friday in practice, Eddie was a practice squad player and was promoted to the roster to provide blocking and pass catching support in the absence of tight end Chris Cooley, he was never active in a game.

Chad Rinehart: AP Photo from here.

Department of Bad News: Ladell Betts


Eighth year Redskins tailback Ladell Betts suffered serious knee injuries two weeks ago in game ten against the Dallas Cowboys, Ladell was injured in the first quarter of that game, his second start in place of primary back Clinton Portis who is still out after suffering a concussion in game eight against the Falcons, in the cutback on a left side run Ladell was tackled by Dallas linebacker Bradie James and tore both the anterior cruciate ligament and the medial collateral ligament in his left knee, Ladell was placed on injured reserve on Monday 23 November 2009 and will miss the final six games of the season.

Like all ligaments, the ACL and MCL connect bone to bone, as opposed to tendons, which connect bone to muscle. While both ligaments' jobs are to stabilize the knee, the ACL's primary function is to hold the tibia, or lower leg bone, in line and limit rotation of the knee joint. The MCL is on the inside of the knee and its primary function is to prevent the lower leg bone from swinging out, or quote opening up unquote.

These are serious knee injuries, the same injuries suffered by teammates Rocky McIntosh and Carlos Rogers in 2007 and will require surgery and months of rehabilitation.

Despite assuming a nominal role this season as third down back, Ladell's numbers in 2009 through seven games were not much different from his 2008 or 2007 numbers, with Clinton Portis healthy the past two seasons the touches simply are not there. After Clinton went down against the Falcons, Ladell ramped up quickly as the feature back, with numbers to match, 70 yards on fifteen carries, a 4.7 yards per carry average in Atlanta and 114 yards on 26 carries, a 4.4 yards per carry average at home against Denver.

Ladell has experience as the starter, in 2006 Clinton Portis suffered a separated shoulder on the first possession of the first preseason game and was never himself on the field, Ladell managed to rack up over 1100 yards on only nine starts that season, including a remarkable stretch in November and December of five games with one hundred yards or more rushing, in that stretch he became the only running back in Redskins history to post back to back rushing games of 150 yards or more. Despite Clinton's woes that season and the general malaise afflicting the team, the running game was a huge bright spot in 2006.

Ladell has spent his entire eight year NFL career in Washington, signing a five year contract extension toward the end of that 2006 season, he then reworked his contract before the 2008 season to give the team some additional salary cap room and him some more cash.

I am not alone among Redskins fans hoping Ladell makes a full recovery and returns to the sideline for the 2010 season.

Ladell Betts: AP Photo from here.

Happy Birthday Dan Snyder

The man in charge

Please join me in wishing Redskins owner Dan Snyder a happy birthday, Dan turns 44 today.

Dan demonstrated the entrepreneurial spirit at a young age, dropping out of college to work out of his parents' suburban Maryland house leasing jets to fly students on spring break, Dan later drew the attention of US News and Work Report publisher Mort Zuckerman and New York Daily News publisher Fred Dranser for his idea for a magazine targeted at college students called Campus USA.

Dan went on to start a company called Snyder Communications where he made his first billion dollars, in the process becoming the youngest ever CEO of a compnay listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

In 1999 Dan fulfilled his dream of owning the Washington Redskins when he purchased the team and stadium from the estate of former owner Jack Kent Cooke, it was the largest ever sporting transaction at the time and for the next nine years the Redskins would be the most valuable franchise in American sports. Even now the Redskins are number two behind the Dallas Cowboys and their big new expensive stadium.

Dan has branched out into other businesses, purchasing the Johnny Rockets restaurant chain and Dick Clark Productions which includes restaurants, the Golden Globe Awards and the complete library of American Bandstand. Dan has also amassed a media empire of radio and TV properties.

Dan is as big a fan of the Redskins as anyone else and I believe it has been as hard for him to come to grips with the challenges of 2009 as it has been for anyone. Redskins fans everywhere hope he learns the right lessons from this experience and can use those lessons to help the team regain its winning ways.

Happy Birthday Dan!

Dan Snyder: uncredited image from here.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Game 10: Redskins (3-6) at Cowboys (6-3)


Out of the box: A season's salvation or just more of the same, only three hours today can tell the difference as the Redskins travel to play the Cowboys, 1pm ET on FOX, let us see if the Redskins can spoil the housewarming party.

Quick jump to


The story so far: Hope springs eternal, the Redskins put together a win against a crumbling team with strong but fading defensive statistics and suddenly the city is awash in the possibility that the Denver game was actually the real week one, that all the Redskins needed was eight games to get themselves together, that the offensive line can actually block, that the young receivers can actually play (op. cit.), that Clinton Portis is actually fungible, oh and the defense was already pretty good, we're so old we remember September when the offense sucked.

Be careful Washington, to paraphrase many a sage football mind over the past seventy years, beware thinking too many happy thoughts, translation: it is more likely the Redskins are who they are, and the Broncos game was not who they are.

And I hope I am wrong.

In football news, cornerback Carlos Rogers gave up a big play touchdown on a receiver double move twice in the past three games, he was benched in the first drive of the Broncos game and did not play the rest of the day, Fred Smoot took his place most of the day and to this point we do not know whether Carlos will regain his spot today.

Tailback Clinton Portis, increasingly doubtful throughout the week (op. cit.), was ruled out Thursday, suffering heavy headedness and blurred vision in the aftermath of his concussion in game seven against the Falcons, Ladell Betts will attempt to spark the Redskins to two good rushing weeks in a row for the first time all season, notice how no one is complaining about fullback Mike Sellers' now (ibid.)? Clinton Portis even thinks maybe he and Ladell should split more of the plays once he comes back. I think that would be a good idea to the extent that Ladell gets more carries.

Congratulations to punter Hunter the Punter Smith, he was named NFC Special Teams Player of the Week (ibid.) for his 35 yard touchdown pass to fullback Mike Sellers on fourth and twenty out of field goal formation.

Hey, want to know who's having a pretty ok season in 2009? How about rookie hybrid defensive endbacker Brian Orakpo. He already has more sacks than any Redskins rookie... ever, and with seven sacks now has more than any NFL rookie since 2006. Brian has more than exceeded expectations, we can still quibble about whether Brian was the right guy to pick for a team that was already awesome on defense, he is here now so let us review his learning curve: not a linebacker in college > moved to linebacker in the pros > no sacks in first professional game > seven sacks in next seven professional games. One would expect that Brian is still way down at the bottom of his performance curve and one day, maybe soon, he will make Andre Carter expendable.


Curly R Aside: The most ridiculous hedge ever: Clinton Portis gets his job back when he is healthy, head coach Jim Zorn will not allow Clinton to lose his job to injury. Here is the deal: Clinton took a massive smack on the head, he has never had a concussion like that and concussions are the cause celebre of the 2009 NFL season. Ladell Betts in a game and a half looked like a real NFL tailback. Add these three things together and here is what you get: Clinton Portis is done for the season and Ladell Betts will be the team's primary back for the rest of the season. For whatever reason Ladell has it right now and Clinton does not, Ladell is respected by his teammates for caring about practice and they will lay out for him. I think the locker room is done with Clinton.


Oppo Research: Dallas is humming along, they are in the NFC Beast driver's seat although last week's loss to Green Bay was just a loss where the Cowboys almost got shut out, it was the first time in thirteen straight November games that Tony Romo had not led the team to victory, under Tony and head coach Wade Phillips the Cowboys have become a force in the month of November, before sagging inevitably in December, the numbers are against the Redskins winning this game.

In the personnel department, receiver Roy Williams, for whom they gave up four draft picks and then signed to a 45 million dollar extension in 2008, has basically been a bust, he has 24 catches and three touchdowns. I love to see strife in Big D.


Trainer's Table: Defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth sprained his ankle pretty badly against the Broncos (ibid.), that was the most significant injury because as one Redskins fan chatting with Dan Dan the Sports Bog Man pointed out, Albert is really like three players considering what great seasons Andre Carter and Brian Orakpo are having. The gameplan for today's game was installed without Albert in it, he is a gametime decision.


Gameplan: Putting Chad Rinehart back in at right guard seemed to work and the team will run with the same five offensive linemen today and with tailback Clinton Portis still out Ladell Betts will get the call. These are both good things. One would hope that the geniuses that call plays for the Redskins realized after Jason Campbell completed passes to ten different receivers against Denver that a consistent running attack creates opportunities for the passing game. The reverse is not always true and that is why for generations the Redskins have been a run first team.

On defense, just keep doing what you are doing, Tony Romo is shifty in the pocket (op. cit.), so the pass rush will have to adapt, I hope Albert Haynesworth plays and I wish the secondary did not give up so many big plays. Given that three weeks in a row each Redskins opponent has scored twice on plays of 30 yards or more (op. cit.), it is amazing to me that the Redskins are the number one passing defense in the league (op. cit.), I really attribute that statistic to the improved pass rush more than to stellar play in the secondary, which it has not been.


My Take in 60 Words or Less: Are you for real or not? This is the Redskins chance to show they are not the 3-6 team they appear to be. Suck it up, it is a division game, you know these guys.


Washington Post interactive gameday, keys to the game, key matchups. Broadcast coverage, there will be a lot of the country watching this game.

Other previews: Mark Newgent's regular Redskins Examiner exchange, this week with the Cowboys Examiner.

Enjoy the game, while we have the weather we will continue to watch these games in neighbor Bill's back yard on Shed TV.

This is a gameday open thread.

NFL helmet logos from here.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Every Time I Think I'm Out

After all I've been through

Danny Rouhier is out with his week ten video, it includes excerpts from Jon Gruden's and Shannon Sharpe's analysis of the Redskins, and Danny's true passion for the team is tested.

Enjoy, game preview in the morning. If the Redskins were somehow miraculously to win this game tomorrow in Dallas they would be [REDACTED]

YouTube from here.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Happy Birthday DeAngelo Hall

If you want an interception, ask this guy

Please join me and the entire staff of The Curly R in wishing Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall a happy birthday, DeAngelo turns 26 today.

DeAngelo made his way to the Redskins circuitously, a midseason signing last year who made his mark immediately with an interception against Dallas in a close game ten loss, after a terrific half season the Redskins elected to keep DeAngelo, signing him this offseason to a six year, 55 million dollar contract, DeAngelo immediately moved into the principal cornerback position replacing five year Redskin Shawn Springs.

This season DeAngelo has four of the team's five interceptions, including a two pick performance against Denver this past week. Whatever we as fans may think about this year's team, DeAngelo has been a big part of a defensive unit this is currently ranked number one in passing defense, allowing a meager 162 yards passing per game. Times may be tough, there is plenty of cause for hope on this team.

Happy birthday DeAngelo!

DeAngelo Hall: Getty Images from here.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

What a Bunch of Horseshit

Ok then not ok then ok again. WTF bro?

Thanks to a text from Redskins Examiner's Mark Newgent I learned a few minutes before the Broncos game Sunday that the Redskins had revised their sign policy, to allow non profane signs back into Redskins Stadium, this makes at least three weeks and one game, and possibly as long as six weeks and three games, that the ban was in effect.

To do so three hours before kickoff on gameday when nearly everyone who would be at the game is already there or on the way with no time to prepare signs of support or dissent is a gutless move of the highest order, in effect extending the ban an additional week. Background, quickly:

Buccaneers at home, game four 4 October 2009: At least two ticket holders report sign confiscation and a declaration from gate security that there would be quote no signs today unquote. Dan Dan the Sports Bog Man swears up and down that he saw the Redskins sign policy on the Redskins website that night and the old policy permitting signs was still in effect (op. cit.).

Chiefs at home, game six, 18 October 2009: Bad weather and no stories of sign confiscations though I read at least on online account somewhere of gate security citing this game as the first week of the sign ban the following home game against the Eagles.

Eagles at home, game seven, 26 October 2009: Full sign ban in effect. I was at this game and personally witnessed fans of both teams not simply being asked to drop signs but having signs violently knocked from hands from behind. The following day Dan Dan the Sports Man did some homework and found the original sign policy and compared it to the new ban.

Broncos at home, game nine, 15 November 2009: Sign policy rescinded and returned to pre-ban status before 11am on gameday, thus extending the ban by one week by default.

Message management bullshit is what this is, by the timing of the end of the ban the team will claim the ban was in effect for a game less than it actually was.

There are only three home games left this season. Get your signs ready now.

See also: Mark's chronology at Redskin Examiner.

Redskins fans with a perfectly fine sign: Larry French / Getty Images from here.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Redskins Name Will Continue to Be Offensive. Or Not. It Depends on Who You Ask. I Lost the Plot.

Um, no

A Curly R twofer for your Tuesday morning.

First, yesterday the Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal of the case of the Redskins team name, ending this particular legal challenge to the propriety of naming a for profit enterprise with a term recognized now as an epithet.

To summarize this long running case, a group of what some people would call activists and others would call defenders of the oppressed and yet others might call enforcers of political correctness brought a lawsuit against the Redskins in 1992, calling the Redskins name offensive and demeaning to American Indians. The Redskins went 9-7 and made the playoffs that year.

The group won the first skirmish, in 1999 when the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board agreed the name could be considered offensive. The result of that case was not the Redskins being forced to change their name but rather that they were to lose their trademark, meaning anyone and everyone could create and sell Redskins merchandise and the team and league would lose millions. The Redskins went 10-6 and made the playoffs that year.

Logically following that decision, the team would have been pressured to change its name by the league if not internally just in order to have a trademark to generate licensing revenue.

The team then appealed the case into federal court, resulting in a reversal in 2003 by federal judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, best known for being the federal judge assigned to US vs. Microsoft after judge Thomas Penfield Jackson was dismissed in 2001, on grounds that the plaintiffs had not produced enough evidence and that the issue was way too old to be visited legally at this point in history. The Redskins went 5-11 that year, missing the playoffs.

The plaintiffs appealed and the case was returned to judge Kollar-Kotelly for review, she focused on the timing issues and ignored the matter of offensiveness or propriety of the name, in July of 2006 ruling that the individuals that brought the case all had waited too long to bring it. The Redskins went 5-11 that year.

In July of 2008 the same appeals court that had returned the case to judge Kollar-Kotelly agreed, leaving the Supreme Court the only recourse for the plaintiffs. The Redskins went 8-8 that year.

By refusing to hear the case the Supreme Court is saying law is established in the area of standing and when an offended party may bring a case. This case had nothing to do with the offensiveness or propriety of the name Redskins, that was not what was adjudicated, it was simply about whether the plaintiffs had standing to make a case.

The plaintiffs have said they will remount a another legal case against the team after leagal review in the hopes of finding the right mix of standing and justification.

It is of note that Supreme Court Samuel Alito once ruled as an appellate judge that lawsuits may be brought against disparaging trademarks at any time. This would mean in societal terms that there is a legal remedy to address trademarks that may at one point in time not have been considered offensive but now are with the evolution of socio-cultural tastes.

When this case ended yesterday, nine games into the 2009 NFL season, the Redskins were 3-6.


The other half of today's Curly R twofer concerns that alternate reality Redskins helmet image above. Mark Newgent at Redskins Examiner found a piece at Fast Company by a graphic designer that wanted to spruce up some boring NFL helmets, and the Redskins was one, that is his prospective design.

I do not like it for the simple reason that the re design encompasses a half measure toward ridding the team of the name, and that is ridding the team of the logo of the Indian brave.

As I have written many times here and will happily engage in conversation, I am over the talk of changing the name. As a young man I held the position that it is not offensive because I am not offended and those that are offended simply do not understand the name and logo are honorifics.
With maturity I realized that is a flawed perspective of the type that leads to separate but equal and that failing to consider another's point of view is fundamentally narrow minded.

So then I went through a phase where I wanted to burn down the team name, even if it meant the arrival of some awful generic name like the Monuments or the Power or the Cherry Blossoms with some awful teal and black 90s color scheme.

Now, I simply haven no opinion on the matter. Yes I understand the term redskin has a demeaning connotation. I also know it has been in use as the team name since 1937 and that an anecdotal majority people do not consider it so offensive that the team would have the motivation to make a change. In fact it is a bit of joke among football fans, you know you are winning the argument as a Redskins fan when the other guy breaks out the well my team name is not offensive line of attack.

Too bad we do not hear that too much these days with such a crappy team on the field and off.

We will not see a real motivation to change the name until the NFL's corporate partners and overlords, ESPN, FOX, Anheuser-Busch, General Motors, etc., take a position on the matter and refuse to recognize the name or patronize the league that supports the continued use of the name.

This of course will never happen because these business are all in bed together, big business is fundamentally conservative in approach to change and public positions on controversial matters and no one wants to rock the money boat that is the NFL. The desire to change, outside a successful future lawsuit, can only come from one place, the team itself and the owner, and Dan Synder has by all accounts never even considered changing the name.

So change it. Or Don't. The name, colors and logo do not matter to me. This is my football team and always will be. You can put them in green and black and call them the Washington Frankenfish, put them in parchment and black and call them the Washington Independence, the Spirit, the Cougars, the Blueberries, the Asian Tigers, the River Dogs, the Politicos, the Spirit, the Internets, the Administration, the Panthers or any other unused bird, big mammal, fruit, vegetable or icon of the region. I just root for the laundry now and will whatever the team is called.

And if that happens we will see all new colors and logos on the helmet so I will pass on the alternate design above, if you want to make the Indian go away, go all the way and let us not pretend him away, he's my guy and I'm going with him until it's time for him to hit the showers.

Alternate Redskins helment from here.

Monday, November 16, 2009

38 Runs / 26 Passes

That's what I'm talking about

Takeaway Drill: When you play Redskins football with Redskins football players you get what you got today, a cast of banged up rejects that saves the day, so in other words The Goonies; man that defensive secondary sucks.

Quick jump to


Monday Walkthrough: With nothing to lose, nothing to prove and heaping scorn from the public, the Redskins play the kind of football that wins football games, beating the visiting Denver Broncos 27-17 to move to 3-6. Whatever got into the playcalling bureaucracy worked and those guys should take note, the running game drives the Redskins in this or any era. The Broncos continue their reversal of fortune, keeping their parallels with the 2008 Redskins for another week.

The Broncos got the ball to start the first quarter, Denver's first possession starts with a 28 yard run by tailback Knowshon Moreno, after two nowhere plays Kyle Orton finds Brandon Marshall on an embarrassing third and eleven, just embarrassing Carlos Rogers and LaRon Landry for a touchdown and the Redskins once again open with a deficit as the Broncos go up 7-0 to start the game. The Redskins get the ball for the first time and open with a run by Ladell Betts, in for Clinton Portis, Fred Davis and Rock Cartwright also help move the chains, the Redskins move down the field on twelve plays over 78 yards, ending with a two yard touchdown pass to tight end Todd Yoder and the game is tied 7-7. Denver gets the ball for the second time in good field position thanks to a terrible Shaun Suisham kickoff, on second and one in Redskins territory, former Eagle Correll Buckhalter is hit form behind Lorenzo Alexander aka Scarface and drops the ball, Reed Doughty falls on it is Redskins ball. Washington's second drive turns out three and out and they are punting. Denver's third drive is a one play drive as LaRon Landry makes a bad move, allowing Brandon Marshall a 75 yard path to the end zone, Denver goes up 14-7. Washington's third possession is saved by Antwaan Randle El on third and fifteen over Champ Bailey, the drive stalls three plays later and the Redskins are punting, The Broncos get the ball for the fourth time and run one running play and that is it, the first quarter ends with the Broncos leading 14-7. [Quarterly reports: Washington Post]

Denver continues their fourth drive into the second quarter, Rocky McIntosh introduces himself to Brandon Marshall and Kyle Orton overthrow Eddie Royal by inches to prevent another long Denver touchdown, and the Broncos are punting. The Redskins get the ball for the fourth time, a miserable three and out, Washington's second in a row. The Broncos fifth drive almost ends after one play as DeAngelo Hall nearly intercepts the latest deep pass by Kyle Orton, two plays later Denver is three and out. Washington's fifth possession moves fourteen yards on six plays before Shaun Suisham sets up for a 53 yard field goal, the Redskins execute some trickery on fourth and twenty as punter Hunter the Punter tosses a 35 yard touchdown pass to fullback Mike Sellers and the score is tied 14-14 (op. cit.). The Broncos sixth possession is long, moving 82 yards on 16 plays in six and a half minutes, Denver kicks a 24 yard field goal to go up 17-14. The Broncos kick off with six seconds left and there is no return and that is where the half ends with the Broncos leading 17-14. [Quarterly reports: Washington Post]

Washington got the ball to start the third quarter, the Redskins sixth possession is a four and out, Fred Davis makes a good catch and run and outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil finally gets hold of Jason Campbell for a sack and the Redskins are punting. Denver gets the ball for the seventh time, Chris Simms comes out at quarterback, we hear that Kyle Orton's return is doubtful with two ankles, the drive is eight plays over three minutes but only moves twenty yards and the Broncos are punting. Washington's seventh possession starts with two strong Ladell Betts runs, soon it is third and seven near midfield and Devin Thomas saves the drive, three plays later it is fourth and one from the Denver 31, within range of a tying field goal, Jim Zorn chooses to go for it and it fails on a Rock Cartwright run to the right, Denver ball. Luckily for Redskins fans, Denver's eighth drive is a three and out. Washington's eighth drive starts deep in Redskins territory, Ladell, Ladell, Ladell, throw in one run to Quinton Ganther and that is it for the third quarter, it ends with the Broncos leading 17-14. [Quarterly reports: Washington Post]

Washington continued its eighth drive into the fourth quarter, and they continue to run the ball, after a twelve play 89 yard drive featuring eight runs and four passes they stall and Shaun Suisham kicks a 40 yard field goal to tie the game at 17-17. Denver gets the ball for the ninth time, they can move the ball, on first and ten from midfield Chris Simms drops back on a playaction and tosses fifty yards in the air for Brandon Marshall, DeAngelo Hall intercepts it in the end zone and returns it 25 yards before bizarrely lateraling the ball to LaRon Landry who almost drops it but does not, Redskins ball. Washington's ninth possession starts with 4:20 left in the game, it is a relentless series of runs, toss in a great play by Devin Thomas and it is first and goal Washington, Ladell, Ladell, Ladell and touchdown, Redskins take a lead and move to ten points above their season scoring average, 24-17 Redskins. Denver gets the ball for the tenth time, Albert Haynesworth comes back onto the field before limping back off, a four and over as the Broncos turn the ball over on downs, Redskins ball. Washington's tenth and final possession of the game starts deep in Denver territory, three Ladell Betts runs then a Shaun Suisham 35 yard field goal to put the Redskins up for good, 27-17. The Broncos got the ball one more time, their eleventh time, four down territory including a Brian Orakpo sack and that's the game, Redskins win 27-17 on the backs of two areas that have not been strong lately, running and running. [Quarterly reports: Washington Post]


Soapbox: How is it possible that after this game the Redskins have the number one pass defense in the league through ten weeks of the 2009 season? On the opening drive of the game quarterback Kyle Orton, who is now 0-3 against the Redskins, cornerback Carlos Rogers bit badly on a double move by receiver Brandon Marshall, allowing a 40 yard touchdown pass, a mistake that got Carlos benched for the day.

Two Broncos possessions later they did it again when safety LaRon Landry attacked the wrong route, leaving Brandon wide open for another score. In the second quarter it took safety Kareem Moore illegally holding receiver Eddie Royal to prevent him from catching a wide open pass, the penalty was not called, and on the following Denver drive Brandon Marshall appeared to be open deep down the right side, cornerback DeAngelo Hall got there and nearly intercepted it.

Move on to the second half after Kyle Orton was out of the game with twisted ankles and replacement Chris Simms tried that shit and DeAngelo intercepted it in the end zone, Chris did not have a good day. So the pass defense, and the pass rush (op. cit.) got progressively better throughout the day but come on guys, letting the opponent score so easily so early twice just makes it that much harder for the offense. If I were Kyle Orton I would be pretty pissed, what with getting hurt on the last play of the first half.

And that brings to the real news from this game and that is that the Redskins found an offense, it only took five different starting combinations on the offensive line and tailback second string Ladell Betts to get the start but it was there, it was shades of December 2006 without the fumbles. Ladell had 26 carries for 114 yards, throw in Rock Cartwright and newcomer Quinton Ganther and the Redskins ran 38 times for 159 yards, they held the ball for eleven minutes longer than the Broncos and Jason Campbell kept it simple, no interceptions and no fumbles.

I would caution Redskins fans against getting too caught up in any hype around the quote arrival unquote of the Redskins' offense, this was one game and we need to see more consistency before we forget how bad the team has looked so often this season.

I will say this though, if we really want to make this season about the playcalling and who gets to do it, yesterday's game was a good example of the kind of football that a) works, and b) that Redskins fans want to see.

I will also say it is ok at this point, I am officially declaring rookie defensive endbacker Brian Orakpo awesome. He and defensive end Andre Carter are ginning up quite the sack competion each had one and a half in yesterday's game, giving Andre eight for the year and Brian seven. I think we are fully realizing the Albert Haynesworth Benefit.


Chattering Class: Dan Dan the Sports Bog Man writes about the mysterious and inconguent rescinding of the wholly bullshit ban on signs at Redskins Stadium, in case you missed this story the team decided three hours before kickoff yesterday that signs were going to be ok after all, as long as they were not profane. Of course the ban in the first place was not about profanity but about fans getting poked in the head, but it was not really about that either, man the guys that run this team are a real bunch of bozos.

Tom Boswell also at the Washington Post is not exactly impressed by a win over a team that was on a two game losing streak and that lost its quarterback before halftime, but that said is impressed that the team won with substitutes and trickery. Tom also suggests perhaps when tailback Clinton Portis returns from his concussion that the team should split carries between Clinton and Ladell Betts to keep them both healthier. I suppose that could be a good idea, I think there is too much water under the Clinton Portis bridge and that story is done in Washington, Redskins fans do not respect divas, like their players to practice and have soured on Clinton Portis, at this point I do not want him to have John Riggins' franchise rushing record.

Mike Wise at the Washington Post will not go so far as playoffs but does see signs of a team playing with confidence and trust in each other, he wonders if these guys do not think maybe they can still win most of their remaining games. He also has a humorous and sad but true quick rundown of many of the humiliations so far this season.


Omnibus: Broadcasters: CBS, Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf, nice to see you Dan, I always through you got jobbed in the Monday Night Football travesty that saw that broadcast go from Dennis Miller to Tony Kornheiser. Later as the game wore on I came to the realization that Dan Dierdorf is not the same color man he was a decade ago, he was sloppy on replays and his analysis too often was like, then the player made a bad move. Dan, we want to hear the names and the breakdown.

Uniform watch: The team was wearing the traditional road uniform of burgundy jerseys and white pants, I still hate that uniform.

To end the Bronco's first drive, Carlos Rogers and LaRon Landry once again botched up the coverage, from the Washington 40 yard line on third and eleven, Brandon Marshall got behind Carlos and LaRon did not provide over the top coverage, it was a huge fucking ugly busted play and it was also the first time Denver had scored a touchdown on their opening drive, the Redskins this season have a way of making everyone feel special. Carlos bit hook line and sinker on a stutter and go, he sucks.

Great statistic during the Redskins first drive: Redskins have been outscored 52-10 in the all first quarters this season.

Another configuration to the offensive line, with Stephon Heyer moving back to right tackle to replace Mike Williams and Levi Jones moving in to left tackle. Chad Rinehart would appear to be getting a pity start from Joe Bugel at right guard over Will Montgomery. My impression may change during this game, I am going into it with the basic belief that Will and Chad are both interchangeably bad.

The Redskins are scrapping like crazy on this first drive, Ladell Betts, Fred Davis, Antwaan Randle El, Rock Cartwright, they all figured in, and Levi Jones looks like he can play. To this point.

Nice head's up play be defensive specialist Lorenzo Alexander to whack from behind and knock the ball out of Correll Buckhalter's hands and for Reed Doughty to just fall on it. Too bad the Redskins couldn't do shit with the turnover and three and outed.

The boobirds first came out on Shaun Suisham's botched kickoff but that does not really count, they were out for the first time for real on the second long touchdown pass to Brandon Marshall, DeAngelo Hall played a weak zone but the real fault on that play was safety LaRon Landry, he came up to jump the route, emptying his zone and leaving Brandon a straight path to the end zone.

In the Broncos fourth drive, only safety Kareem Moore illegally holding receiver Eddie Royal prevented another loooooong Denver touchdown. In Denver's fifth drive, it looked like the Redskins had made some adjustments, Kyle Orton went long to Eddie Royal, DeAngelo Hall was right there and nearly intercepted it.

Tailback Quinton Ganther made his Redskins debut, his first play was a run from nowhere, his second was a great backfield pass block and his third was an over the middle catch that ended with Quentin standing up former Eagles safety Brian Dawkins, knocking his helmet off at the point of contact. Welcome to Washington Quentin.

Department of Trickery: In the Redskins fifth possession, second quarter, the Redskins lined up for a 53 yard field goal on fourth and twenty, Jason Campbell had been called for an intentional grounding two plays earlier, as the teams lined up the Redskins shifted formations, the holder, punter Hunter the Punter Smith stepped back into what looked like punt formation, the Broncos responded by falling back into punt return formation. Fullback Mike Sellers split wide, when the ball was snapped Hunter did not punt the ball, he cocked and started looking to pass the ball to a receiver, Mike Sellers was wide open 35 yards down the field, touchdown Redskins. As we learned in the switch to Sherman Lewis calling plays, head coach Jim Zorn still has dominion over fourth down calls, this was clearly coach Zorn not only calling a good play, but giving everyone a great reminder he is still here. The big error on that play on the part of the Broncos was not to call timeout immediately when they saw Hunter Smith back up and Mike Sellers move out wide.

Bad stat: The broadcasters told us in the second half that the Redskins are the only team in the NFL not to draft an offensive lineman in either the first or second rounds of the draft since 2001. The results of this fact speak for themselves.

The Redskins seventh possession, third quarter, ended with a failed fourth and one deep in Denver territory, Washington could have gone for the tying field goal and instead tried for the first down, it failed, someone needs to go back and see how many times the Redskins have failed on fourth and one this season.

The Redskins eighth possession started with three Ladell Betts runs, all for positive yards and for those of us watching the game together on Shed TV, we were so excited to see a good running game, I wonder if we are seeing a backfield controversy, I think even Rock Cartwright is running harder than Clinton Portis.

During the Broncos ninth drive, fourth quarter, Albert Haynesworth went down hard on first down, he needed help to get off the field. To be determined.

That's what I'm talking bout: In the Redskins ninth possession, fourth quarter, Rock Cartwright and Ladell Betts carried the drive up until third and three at the Denver 32 yard line, Jason Campbell tossed a receiver screen to Devin Thomas who makes three men miss, that play was a lot closer to what we were expecting to see from Devin Thomas and I hope it gives him a quote spark unquote.

First time with more than 17 points in 11 home games. ACK!

All is well in the end and it was done on the backs of the Redskins running backs, 35 carries between Ladell Betts and Rock Cartwright for 155 yards, against only 26 passing plays for Jason Campbell. The story is so obvious it writes itself.


Shooter: Quarterback Jason Campbell broke one hundred in passer rating for the second time this season, overall played the kind of game Redskins fans like, 17 of 26 for 193 yards and one touchdown, Jason spread the balls around in this game, completing passes to ten different receivers (op. cit.). Jason took a couple of shots downfield but only connected on one deep pass, to Antwaan Randle El in the first quarter, would have like to see some more deep shots and completions, that said this is the kind of game Jason Campbell is capable of having regularly with a solid offensive line and running game. We do not need Peyton.

Fat Contract Albert: Defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth had a quiet statistical line, continues to be a giant force improving all those around him, Broncos tailback Knowshon Moreno had almost a hundred yards rushing but the team could never get into a running rhythm. Albert had a crucial pass batdown at the end of the half in the Broncos sixth drive, it helped to stall Denver near the Washington goal line and force a field goal that would only put the Redskins down by three points.

OH CRAPPO: The Redskins outstanding rookie hybrid defensive endbacker Brian Orakpo must at this point be on the short list for NFL Rookie of the year, he continues to impress and this game was no exception, Brian had the catch him from behind hit on Kyle Orton at the end of the first half, Kyle did not return to the game. Brian also teamed up with Washington's other quarterback bane Andre Carter for a drive ending sack in the third quarter and scored a solo sack of Chris Simms on the Broncos final drive, with those one point five sacks yesterday Brian now has seven sacks through nine games and becomes the all time sackinest rookie in Redskins history, breaking the team rookie record of six sacks held by Dean Hamel from 1985 and Andre Collins from 1990.


Washington Post recap, photo gallery. NFL recap, box score, full play by play, photos, video highlights.

Other recaps: Mark Newgent at Redskins Examiner

Next up, a trip to Big D to play the Cowboys, last week I would have told you this game could be a blowout, now... hope?

Ladell Betts celebrating his fourth quarter touchdown: Gerald Herbert / AP photo from here. Johnny Jolly getting to know Tony Romo: Getty Images from here.