Out of the Box: A mighty long trip for a meaningless game played later than any game maybe in Redskins history as Washington travels to Phoenix to play Arizona, 10:00 pm ET on local media.
Quick jump to
The Story So Far: Last tuneup is here, second game in a week following Washington's preseason road win over the Jets Friday, interesting statistic: No team will travel farther this season to play a football game, regular or preseason, than the Redskins tonight.
Many issues will be resolved, all them about the roster and who stays and who goes, the team is shaping up my friends, the regular season is ten days away, this game will be over by 1:00 am ET Friday, by afternoon on Saturday 22 Redskins players will be on the street.
The lucky ones will be picked up by another team, eight employable ones will be signed to the Redskins practice squad, a few others will be told to stay in shape and stay by the phone and others will move on with their lives, it is the ritual of the NFL. A few players were already released to get the team down from 80 to 75 roster players (op. cit.).
Among the issues that will not be resolved: Quality of the running game, it is nowhere near where it needs to be, I think it will evolve naturally, we are talking Mike Shanahan not Andy Reid so there will be no giving up on the run.
Another issue that will remain open until the Dallas game is quarterback, Donovan McNabb's availability and his quality of play, Dono is still recovering from a sprained ankle, he has looked mostly good in preseason otherwise. Neither Clinton Portis not Donovan McNabb made the trip to Arizona.
Continuing a bizarre saga, defensive nose end Albert Haynesworth now WANTS to play in the fourth preseason game, this after complaining about HAVING to play in the second preseason game against the Ravens. I cannot figure this guy out.
I am going ahead and calling the receivers: Santana Moss, Joey Galloway, Devin Thomas, Anthony Armstrong, Brandon Banks.
What's up with the dirty pool trade and cut?
Curly R Aside: Two quick and related issues in the Aside this week, first, the Washington Post's collection of in house sports blogs is getting too long to keep up with and it is diluting the brand, I am missing content that is out there, in addition to one blog for each of the pro teams in the area and ones for UVA and UMD, there are crossover blogs like DC Sports Bog and the new Early Lead with Cindy Boren, now former Redskins linebacker LaVar Arrington has his own called Hard Hits.
WaPo needs to aggregate these somehow so the reader does not have to go from blog to blog to look at headlines, the best way I think they could go would be to aggregate into a superblog where users could see headlines or teasers and sort content by tags, so if Redskins Insider, DC Sports Bog, Early Lead and Hard Hits all publish Redskins stories on the same day I can find them by tag and post time rather than having to hit five separate blogs. The whole of the WashingtonPost.com is run off a content management system and I am sure this is not a huge project. I do not want to miss content but I am also not checking five WaPo blogs more than once a day.
Curly R Aside continues: Speaking of LaVar I think he may be better on the radio or possibly on video than in print. His writing style is somewhat flat and his observations so obvious that without that million dollar smile and a talking partner to riff off I am left underwhelmed. Suggestion: make this a video blog, divide equally between the old Ken Harvey dress in a suit and look at the camera and deliver a point in sixty seconds, and discussion format with two guys on stools talking out an issue alternately loking at the camera and one another. Good opportunities for cross pollination. And LaVar does the we and our when talking about the Redskins, how we will look good on Hard Knocks after last week's game and how LaVar will be paying attention to our receivers tonight.
I tend not to look at the Redskins as we and our, no matter how loyal I am though I do refer to my alma mater's Virginia Cavalier teams as we and us, principally because I share a relationship with those athletes from having also been a student there. And while LaVar was a star Redskin for four seasons from 2000 to 2003, the circumstances of his fall from favor, legal battles and eventual buy out from his contract would tend to indicate he should not have a love abiding for the team sufficient still to think of himself as part of the family, it was an ugly disowning. Even if time has mellowed him about what happened and he remembers only the good times, I am surprised the Post lets him use this terminology.
Oppo Research: The Cardinals are quite the trainwreck at quarterback right now. After the retirement of Kurt Warner this past offseason, fifth year former first roundpick Heisman Trophy winner Matt Leinart was re elevated and given another shot to take control of the offense...
... And apparently failed, nine plays in the third preseason game last week head coach and former Redskins tight end Ken Whisenhunt pulled Matt in favor of former Browns quarterback Derek Anderson, since then there have been rumors of trade discussions involving Matt and the Bills, Giants and Raiders, and at least one outlet is openly talking about his possible release from the team by Saturday.
Trainer's Table: A number of surefire starters will not make this trip as they are recovering from injury and laying low until the season opener on 12 September. Quarterback Donovan McNabb, tailback Clinton Portis and fullback Mike Sellers would not play more than a series even if healthy and so are staying home.
Perhaps the biggest non news of the week though was receiver Malcolm Kelly heading to injured reserve (op. cit.), after practicing only the first day of camp on 29 July, Malcolm aggravated a strained hamstring that was first injured in Hell Week with Donovan earlier in the month, Monday he tried to get back on the field and re injured the same hammy (op. cit.), for a guy rated medical reject by NFL scouts going into the 2008 draft Malcolm sure has lived up to billing.
I had advocated simply for cutting him, with so few locked in options at receiver I guess the team wanted to spend another year of second round pick money to keep Malcolm to see if he can go in 2011, unless of course he heals during the season and the team can release him without an injury settlement or union grievance. We will not be seeing Malcolm Kelly in burgundy and gold for a regular season game ever again.
Gameplan: Rex Grossman will get the start (op. cit.), he likely will play the true starter role, a drive or two then come out, he needs to be kept healthy if Donovan is going into the regular season with an ankle sprain, that leaves newly contract extended John Beck and head on the chopping block Richard Bartel to split the game, they both did well in their garbage time last week and I am ambivalent about both of them.
Also apparently on the strength of one fourth quarter run and one fourth quarter catch, Larry Johnson has supplanted Willie Parker as Clinton Portis' relief, at the same time Ryan Torain leads Keiland Williams for the new guy tailback spot, so look for Willie and Keiland to play lots in the second half.
Expect as usual to see lots of players for the last time in a Redskins uniform, the roster is mostly set and now players are fighting for the last couple of spots and specials teams role playing positions, this is the game where strange things can happen, cheer worthy but Pyrrhic performances can be witnessed and people can get hurt trying to make a play and make the team. It will be late and I will be watching the whole thing.
My Take in 60 Words or Less: BRING ON THE COWBOYS! WE WANT DALLAS!
Washington Post preview, broadcast coverage, once again I think the best way to watch this game is on Comcast SportsNet high definition if you are in the Washington DC area.
Enjoy the game, ShedTV it is again on Swarthmore Drive for the fourth game in a row, I might even has a whiskey or two, thanks for tuning into Curly R for our fifth preseason of coverage, next time you see a post tagged Preview it will be for a game that counts.
This is a gameday open thread.
NFL helmet logos from here.