Sunday, October 31, 2010

Game 8: Redskins (4-3) at Lions (1-5)


Out of the Box: Vuja de all over again as the Redskins travel for the second year in a row to play a struggling Lions team, may this time be better than the last, 1:00 pm ET on FOX, unless you live in the Detroit market.


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: Normally the last time the teams played is later in this section, in this week's case the game is all about the last time they played, the Lions were on a nineteen game winless streak, going back into 2007, the Redskins in Jim Zorn's failing second season has head coach blundered into Lions Stadium for game three and got beat. We know what happened after that.

Meanwhile back on Earth there was a week of news. After beating the Bears in the sloppiest game ever in which cornerback DeAngelo Hall tied an NFL record with four interceptions, much of the focus of the week was on the offense, this unit has been somewhat sloppy and inconsistent with a persistent inability to close games out. Quarterback Donovan McNabb, while still thrilling Redskins fans just by being here, is on pace for just about his worst statistical season ever.

The second biggest story after Donovan McNabb having his worst season ever, has got to be Albert Haynesworth and the team negotiating a peace that allows Albert to be Albert while still allowing the team to stick with its 3-4 philosophy, the result of this new arrangement saw Albert have his best game as a Redskin, although we can now expect not to see Albert in base 3-4 sets, we will still see lots of him, doing his best Charles Jefferson impression (op. cit.), going through the line straight to the quarterback. I hope this works.

As the Redskins defense continues to be a sieve a pattern emerges: It is all about turnovers, the Redskins are sitting at seventeen takeaways and a plus eight turnover margin, good for third in the league.

Take a minute to think about this: Seven games into the 2010 season the Redskins have matched their win total from 2009. Those four wins are all quality wins with playoff implications: Two wins in the Division and two in the Conference.


Curly R Aside: This week I finally upgraded from my crappy old Blackberry to a brand new iPhone, I have the Washington Post Football Insider app which pipes in Post blogs, articles, columns, game stats and photos, a very cool app. Help me out readers, what other apps are essential for the football fan?


Oppo Research: Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, who like Sam Bradford did in game three this season, won his first career NFL game last season in the Lions epic win Redskins epic fail of a game, this year the Lions do not look a lot better, Matthew went out in Detroit's game one, this is his first game back from that injury. Hopefully the Redskins can exploit this and get Matthew on his back.

The other major threat for this team is receiver Calvin Johnson, he had a big hand in last year's debacle and creates matchup problems for the Redskins. Let us see if DeAngelo can keep it up or if he has a predictable letdown.

This is of course not to disrespect defensive tackles Ndamakong Suh and Kyle Vanden Bosch, see below for more on them.


Trainer's Table: Safety Kareem Moore, who played plenty against the Bears but did not actually start, is suffering lingering problems from his preseason knee injury. This is not good, Kareem is better at the free safety position than either Chris Horton or Reed Doughty.

The team this week finally admitted something everyone already knew: Right guard Jammal Brown is not fully recovered from the hip injury that caused him to miss all of the 2009 season and that made him expendable in New Orleans. Veteran utility man Stephon Heyer is right at his door and may take that job which if you have been watching the past few seasons you will recognize as a bad thing.

Fullback Mike Sellers left the Bears game with a foot injury and was seen wearing a boot after the game, he appears to be fine. Tailback slash return man Chad Simpson pulled a hamstring in practice and was inactive for the Bears game, he is to be determined (op. cit.).

Tailback Clinton Portis, he of the detached groin muscle, is still two weeks away minimum before coming back. Still predicting he has no serious role in this year's offense.

Other players appear on the Redskins Wednesday injury report then again on Friday's, those not named here will play.


Gameplan: On offense the Redskins are still looking for some consistency along the line, right tackle Jammal Brown is still slowed by the hip injury that kept him out all of 2009, his main backup Stephon Heyer is as much a threat to make mistakes as block well. While not as dangerous as DeMarcus Ware and Clay Matthews, Lions rookie Ndamakong Suh and free agent pickup defensive tackle Kyle Vanden Bosch, Albert Haynesworth's old teammate in Tennessee, are menacing, setting the rhythm early is key.

On defense the plan will be to try and get to the quarterback, the Lions have talented but limited weapons on offense, the Redskins will plan to limit Matthew Stafford and force the Lions to do it on the ground.


My Take in 60 Words or Less: Trap game schmap game, show Detroit the Redskins remember humiliation, take this game seriously and go kick their assess.


LaVar Arrington's keys to the game: Offense / defense / special teams; Inactives: tailback Chad Simpson, cornerback Kevin Barnes, tailback Clinton Portis, linebacker Perry Riley, nose tackle Anthony Bryant and left guard Derrick Dockery, this is Derrick's fourth straight game inactive, John Beck is the emergency third quarterback.

Broadcast coverage, as you can see no one cares about this game but us and the game is blacked Detroit, Sam Rosen and Tim Ryan on the call, I like Tim on Sirius NFL Radio but not always on TV, I will be looking to give him another chance.

Enjoy the game, I will be in my usual spot on ShedTV, we watch outside as long as the weather permits.

This is a gameday open thread.

NFL helmet logos from here.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Which Five Games Was that Again?

That DeMarcus Ware?

Browsing the week's games with neighbors last night I came across the NFL preview for the Jacksonville at Dallas game, check that last section, the Did you know:

...Cowboys linebacker DeMarcus Ware has a touchdown in five consecutive games.

Say what? He has who what? A touchdown. In five consecutive games.

We decided to try and proof this postulation and were unable to. Here is what we did find:

* DeMarcus Ware has two touchdowns... in his career, both coming in 2006, one on an interception return and one on a fumble recovery and return. It is not consecutive games with a sack either, DeMarcus has eight for the season and has scored one in five of six games, but not five in a row.

* No Cowboy has scored in five consecutive games this season, receiver Dez Bryant has three receiving touchdowns and two punt return scores, though they are not over a five game consecutive streak.

* Tony Romo has thrown a touchdown in five consecutive games, though his streak this year was actually six games.

So what the hell is this all about? If it is a typographical error it is pretty epic, I think Cowboys fans are so down that the league wants to cheer them up with some happy talk and being the simple lot they are, the league knows they will not go and check facts.

Image screencapped from the NFL Game Center preview here, for reasons I do not understand the posted previews on all the major sites, including NFL, ESPN, CBS Sports, etc., all disappear at kickoff.

Think I Found My Halloween Costume


I have three slings left over from the bicycle crash that left me with a separated right shoulder in April, and the two subsequent surgeries. Problem is I refuse to spend a dime on Cowboys regalia, even the cheap ass Walmart shit.

Jay Leno Thursday night: "For Halloween you can stick a fork in yourself and go as the Dallas Cowboys!"

Enjoy your weekend.

Image screencapped from homepage, linked to this story.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Got to Get this Out Before It Goes Away

99.9%? Me?

I have been participating in the ESPN football pool with college friends every year since 2000, during the years when I first had kids my performance dropped off precipitously, then again when I first started up Curly R and had little brainspace for the rest of the league. Still I stuck with it, the pool is a constant and besides the other guys shame me into it when I waffle.

Apparently I am in tune with this NFL season, the image you see above is my profile, 69 games picked correctly through seven NFL weeks, straight up no spread, good enough to place me in the 99.9th percentile, and 307th overall in the game. Tony Almeida first pointed this out to me two weeks ago when I was ranked in the hundredth percentile, with a top hundred ranking.

Looking at some numbers, check the leaderboard for non spread games, 76 is the overall leader, seven games separate me and the leader, 306 spots ahead of me.

On the backside though the competition is much stiffer. I am in two non spread pools, in one the second place player has 65 wins, four fewer than me, placing him in the 98.2th percentile and nearly seven thousand spots behind me.

In the other the second place player is seven spots behind me, the same distance between me and the leader, 62 games is good for the 92.0th percentile, and over thirty two thousand spots behind me.

There is no way that I can see to measure the total player community, conservatively if the top tenth of one percent is rounded to 300 players then the total community is ((300*10)*100) = three hundred thousand players, estimated.

Of course now that I have recognized my performance I expect to tank out of the top echelon, one bad week can drop a player thousands of spots

Screencap of my ESPN Pigskin Pick'em profile here.

Thursday, October 28, 2010


...Dallas is 1-5!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Redskins fan slash comedian slash radio host slash newlywed Danny Rouhier is out with his video wrapping the week seven win over the Bears, money quote:

You realize that when [quarterback Donovan] McNabb threw that [second] pick six, we were saved by our own ineptitude, on the delay of game penalty. We screwed up to prevent ourselves from screwing up even worse. That's our offense right now. [munches nuts]

Even in paradise they know Dallas sucks.

YouTube from here.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Folsom Point 10/26/2010: Remember the Good Parts

A player reads the blog? OH GOD WHAT DID I WRITE?

Wherein we discuss the Redskins awesome awful defense.

Image by me with apologies to Advice Dog.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010



Great to see the NFL has their best copy editors on the Redskins beat.

Screencap of NFL Gamecenter from here.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Go Ahead, Hold Your Nose and...

Just wrong

...root for Dallas tonight. Ugh. Sorry.

The 1-4 Cowboys are on the brink of destruction for the season, as hard as this is we cannot let them go just yet. Tonight they play the New York Giants on Monday Night Football, a win by the Giants would give them sole possession of first place in the NFC Beast at 5-2 and with a 1-0 record in the Division.

A loss would drop New York into a tie with the 4-3 Redskins, which would then move into the Division lead by virtue of a 2-0 record against NFC Beast opponents.

I guess I am going to get some satisfaction tonight either way, seeing Dallas get blown out is always therapeutic, seven games into the season the Redskins are still looking good enough to contend for the Division and we need to begin aligning our rooting interests as such.

Tony Romo crying after his January 2007 playoff fail: Uncredited image from here.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Game 7: Redskins (3-3) at Bears (4-2)


Out of the Box: Two teams with serious weaknesses and serious strengths as the Redskins travel to Chicago to play the Bears in a 1:00 pm ET game, wait what, a 1:00 pm game?


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: The Redskins continue to play close games against good opposition in a season that was supposed to be a sixteen game preseason for the Real Mike Shanahan Redskins, instead this team looks like it could actually contend in 2010. And most of the teams so far on the schedule have featured high powered offenses or deadeye quarterbacks.

Into this mix come the Bears this week, with none other than almost Redskin Jay Cutler at quarterback. Hilarity will ensue.

Recapping the week in Redskins football, I think the big story was the alleged shouting match cornerback DeAngelo Hall and defensive coordinator Jim Haslett got into over coverages, assignments, DeAngelo does not seem to think he and his unit mates have the freedom they need to make plays. For his part, Jim Haslett played it down, saying these types of discussions are routine. This is the second time DeAngelo has gone rogue on the team's defensive strategy, last time DeAngelo said he was going to ignore coaching calls and cover opponents' top receivers himself on every play. It is worth noting that the game following this proclamation, against the Rams, the Redskins lost and DeAngelo played poorly.

tailback Ryan Torain looks like he may be serviceable in the backfield, with Clinton Portis' future with the team not certain Redskins fans should look at every game as an audition for the team's next back. Ryan is a big back and gets most of his yardage after contact, time will tell if his body can hold up, and or if he is a product of the running backs are fungible Mike Shanahan philosophy of football. Personally I still go back to training camp, I thought Ryan was better than every other back besides Clinton, yet Ryan still got cut and spent two weeks on the practice squad before getting promoted and now like wow he is the starting tailback.

With all the focus on player concussions and head trauma in the news it was probably not a great time for tight end Chris Cooley to get bopped on the head, we found out after the Colts game that Chris took a shot in the first half, then returned before pulling himself from the game, he sat out two days of practice then was back and is expected to play.

Defensive nose end Albert Haynesworth did not play against the Colts, he returned too late in the week from the funeral for his brother, or his head was obviously not in the game, take your pick of stories, now the NFL trade deadline has passed and Albert and the team have ten games to figure out if there is a relationship there. I am disappointed the team did not manage to get rid of Albert, for all we have heard the team was never shopping him realistically, rather was looking for a trade value so high that only a dumbass team would go for it, part of me is still surprised Vinny Cerrato did not sneak back into the complex at Ashburn and try to trade two first round picks back to the team for Albert.

Rocky McIntosh, linebacker, enigma or both?

The last time these two teams met was the bitter cold game thirteen of the 2007 season, quarterback Jason Campbell went down with a broken kneecap, Pride of Walpole Todd Collins came in relief and the Redskins won 24-16 to keep their slim playoff hopes alive in the aftermath of Sean Taylor's death and what would become Joe Gibbs' last season as head coach. Todd is now Jay Cutler's backup in Chicago.


Curly R Aside: I know coaching is coaching, that all players, Dan Marino and Peyton Manning included, need coaching even when they are at the top of the profession, I get that, take a look at what is happening with Brad Childress and Brett Favre, I have always thought that coaching for an advanced player such as Donovan McNabb was essentially limited to getting him familiar with the offensive scheme and continual feedback on reading defenses. When I read this week that the Redskins were coaching Dono up on his motion and mechanics I thought that was a little silly, the dude is in his twelfth year of doing this professionally, at this point he is what he is and making him feel like he is being coached up just because he is with a new team or the coaches want to assert themselves is a way to piss him off. That said, if he is complacent in his mechanics or quote trying too hard unquote in his rush to get familiar on the fly with the offense, then perhaps he needs it.


Oppo Research: Chicago is summed up as a team with a dangerous quarterback, failing offensive line, inconsistent receivers, a solid running game, a ferocious run defense and questionable pass defense. Jay Cutler has been eat to shit, three weeks ago he was sacked nine times in the first half and left the game with a concussion, if you give Jay Cutler time he will burn you, if you get to him you can stop the whole offense cold.


Trainer's Table: As indicated above, tight end Chris Cooley suffered a mild concussion in the Colts game, he drilled Wednesday, practiced Thursday and should be good to go for the game.

Linebacker Rocky McIntosh, who missed the Colts game with a concussion suffered in the Packers game, should be back this week.

Tailback Clinton Portis is still out with his groin tear and is still weeks away from return.


Gameplan: On offense Washington will be facing a ball hawking Chicago defense, with as little momentum as the Redskins have been able to apply consistently when they have the ball, I expect to see sluggish offense and a lot of punts, capped by hopefully just enough Donovan McNabb theatrics to win the game.

On defense the Redskins are facing a team that cannot pass block, Jay Cutler has been sacked 26 times so far this season, and that has a great running game, there could be problems. Washington is established as a great pass rushing team that can apply pressure though gives up more yards than any team in the league. In the run game the Redskins are ranked near the bottom of the league at 24th, I think this means the Redskins blitz heavily to try and stop the Bears passing game before it can get started, forcing the Bears to win on the ground.


My Take in 60 Words or Less: Two teams with weaknesses matched to strengths, I think we see fireworks today.


LaVar Arrington's keys to the game: Offense / defense / special teams; Inactives: tailback Clinton Portis, left guard Derrick Dockery, cornerback Kevin Barnes, tailback slash kick returner Chad Simpson, linebacker Perry Riley, nose tackle Anthony Bryant, defensive end Jeremy Jarmon and third quarterback John Beck. This is Derrick Dockery's third straight healthy scratch, the team is trying its best to move on at left guard.

Broadcast coverage, by land area this is the biggest broadcast of Fox's early slate today.

Enjoy the game, for the first time in a month I will be back on ShedTV. Maybe with a whiskey.

This is a gameday open thread.

NFL helmet logos from here.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Little Bit Like an Episode of Full House

A show I never watched but I don't hold this against Danny

Danny Rouhier is out with his week six video wrapping the loss to the Colts, Danny tell us what you really think of Cris Collinsworth, and double internets for the David Terrell reference.

YouTube from here.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Folsom Point 10/20/2010: The Surgeon

Something happened? YEAH I HAVE AN OPINION ON THAT.

Wherein we discuss the precision of Peyton Manning.

Image by me with apologies to Advice Dog.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Game 6: Redskins (3-2) vs. Colts (3-2)


Out of the Box: Back to the national stage, another opportunity for the Redskins to show they are a real team as the Colts come into Washington for Sunday Night Football, 8:00 pm ET on NBC, am I dreaming or is a winnable game?


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: Do you believe? It seems the team is starting to, Mike Shanahan and Donovan McNabb are bleeding their confidence and experience into the rest of this team, it has been a long time since the Redskins had legitimate leadership, and sadly I include the Joe Gibbs II years in this review. They say a good team cannot win if the players do not believe they can win. The Redskins have had decent to good teams in the past five years and have not had a lot of success overall.

Meanwhile back on Earth the Redskins have played Tony Romo, Matt Schaub, emerging rookie phenom Sam Bradford, Michael Vick and Aaron Rodgers in the first five weeks of the season, why the hell not throw a Peyton Manning in there just to rub it in a little. Whatever the outcome of this game, this stretch of elite quarterbacks, including Jay Cutler next week, should end up making this defense better.

There was an odd synchronicity of coverage this week leading up to tonight's game, about how both teams, the Redskins and Colts, were still in the process of finding themselves going into week six of the 2010 NFL season. Little different in what it means for each team to be finding itself though.

The Redskins are a wild west gambler walking the razor's edge every week, shooting their way out of barfights and taking out veteran gunfighters from fifty paces, knowing it could all be over any time. Four of the Redskins five games so far this season have been by a touchdown or less, and all four of those games, including the Redskins three wins, have come down to the last play of the game. Looking back over the four plus years Curly R has been covering this team, this is the norm though (op. cit.).

See Oppo Research below for more on how the Colts are looking to find themselves.

Speaking of head coach Mike Shanahan, although I have questioned some his personnel moves, it is unquestionable that there is a method to his madness, he is already in the process of building a team from the inside out.

We are learning a little more about the release of third year receiver Devin Thomas, that happened on the eve of last Sunday's game against the Packers, coach Shanahan did not think Devin was a good fit with the team, based principally on coach's belief that Devin is not really committed to football (op. cit.), apparently coach also thought Devin was a bit of a showboat. Devin never made it to the market, he was claimed off waivers by the Carolina Panthers.

As a footnote to this preview, the last time these two teams played, not counting the Hall of Fame preseason game one in 2008, was game seven of the 2006 season at Indianapolis, the Curly R preview is decidedly downbeat as the 2-4 Redskins played the 5-0 Colts, this game featured the defensive ends Phillip Daniels and Andre Carter nearly ripping Peyton Manning in half in the first quarter, the Redskins were actually leading by one point at the half before Peyton woke up and threw three touchdown passes in the third quarter, the Redskins went on to lose 36-22 to drop to 2-5.


Curly R Aside: Sunday Night Football play by play announcer Al Michaels has been one of the voices of football for about as long as my attention span permitted me to watch games, long enough in the business to learn some really solid preparation habits, and despite that longevity Al consumes alt media including blogs covering the teams he will be working. He has also been in the business long enough to develop some pretty depraved show business fetishes, hey Al when the game is over tonight you can come over to my house and dress up in ladies panties and bite me on the back, I will even let you sodomize me if you promise to give Curly R a shoutout tonight during the game tonight. (Ed. note: Thanks to all the emailers pointing ot my mistake, obviously I had Al Michaels confused with Marv Albert, my apologies to Al Michaels I may have offended. -Ben)


Oppo Research: As alluded above, the Colts are also a team looking for their identity, it is not the same situation as the Redskins, see the Colts know their identity and when we say they are looking for it we mean like they lost it and are looking up under the couch and between the carseats, it is just a matter of time until they find it. Quarterback Peyton Manning is having a great season, three Colts receivers have thirty catches or more, not even one Redskins player has thirty at this point.

Indianapolis' weakness on offense right now is at tailback, starter Joseph Addai and backup Donald Brown are both hurt and may not play, third string ball carrier Mike Hart is on deck, when this guy gets fifty yards in the game they say it's awesome.

On the other side of the ball defensive ends Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis both present serious challenges to the tackle spots, do not be surprised if the Redskins tight ends stay home more often to block in this game.

Former Pro Bowl safety Bob Sanders continues his downward spiral into retirement, he is injured and will not play so go deep Donovan.


Trainer's Table: Both Redskins tackles, rookie left tackle Trent Williams and right tackle Jammal Brown, suffered knee injuries in the Packers game last week, both had negative results on magnetic resonance imaging tests this week, by Wednesday Jammal was back on the field while Trent was not, Stephon Heyer practiced in Trent's place at left tackle (all op. cit.), Trent is expected to play tonight.

Linebacker Rocky McIntosh suffered a mild concussion in the Packers game last week, I do not even think I remember seeing him get hurt, he came in to work Monday with a headache, when the team resumed practice Wednesday Rocky was not with them, Rocky sat out Thursday and Friday, he is not ready to go and is inactive for the game, HB Blades will start in his place (op. cit.), HB is a fine reserve linebacker, having tutored under London Fletcher all four of his NFL seasons.

Tailback Clinton Portis is the only player out for sure with the groin tear suffered two weeks ago against the Eagles, this week Clinton opened up about his time and legacy with Washington, he swears he will be back, whether for this team or another (ibid.), he wants to break the ten thousand yard career rushing mark and wants to become the Redskins all time leading rusher (op. cit.), he would be breaking John Riggins' record, Riggo and Clinton have had a strained relationship over the years and many Redskins fans are conflicted over whether Clinton should be the greatest ever in burgundy and gold.


Gameplan: On offense the Redskins are going to have some options, Indianapolis is 29th against the run and all star safety Bob Sanders is out of the game, Washington may actually be able to produce offense against this team. Expectation is the team will stick with its workhorses, receiver Santana Moss and tight end Chris Cooley, if things go well on offense they will manage to get some other players in involved. Possibly Anthony Armstrong, the 27 year old second year player that s elbowing Joey Galloway out of the way?

On defense, even defensive coordinator Jim Haslett admits there is only so much you can do to stop Peyton Manning, keeping with an early season theme of Brian Orakpo's disruptive influence, go after Peyton, try and force him to make decisions faster, no one is better at reading defenses than Peyton Manning so if you have to play him you want to get as much pressure as possible and not sit back try and solve him. If Brian and his linemates cannot get to Peyton then let us see 2010 NFC Defensive Player of the Week for 2010 week five LaRon Landry smacking the shit out of some white jerseys.

On special teams, kicker Graham Gano is establishing a pattern of missing kicks, the team keeps bailing him out, they need to figure out if something is wrong, or if 75% accuracy on field goals, good for 22nd in the league, is just how Graham rolls.


My Take in 60 Words or Less: Expect this one to look more like the Texans game than the Eagles or Packers games for the Redskins, I expect lots of passing, not a lot of running and a decent amount of scoring. This can happen.


LaVar Arrington's keys to the game: offense :: defense :: special teams. Injury report, the only player for sure out is tailback Clinton Portis who is hoping his groin muscle reattaches back to his legbone at some point in the not too distant future. Inactives include linebacker Rocky McIntosh who is still suffering from a concussion suffered in the Packers game last week, cornerback Kevin Barnes, tailback Clinton Portis, left guard Derrick Dockery, a healthy scratch his second straight week, nose tackle Anthony Bryant, tight end Logan Paulsen and defensive nose end Albert Haynesworth, Albert is physically healthy though just back from Tennessee where he laid his brother to rest and did not practice enough to qualify.

Broadcast coverage is national, for the second time in the first six weeks of the season the Redskins take the stage for Sunday Night Football, we will be treated to the dulcet tones of Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth who I am really getting sick of caveating that I like the dude.

Enjoy the game, the action moves down the street tonight to Tony Almeida's house, we will be watching over the air high definition on Tony's big screen running DVR on his linux driven home media system. Cable? FEH!

This is a gameday open thread.

NFL helmet logos from here.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Yeah I Am Totally Sure It Was Because the Redskins Did Not Want a Big Play Receiver that Can Do Everything

Doesn't think he got a fair shot

While go back over stories from last week I was struck by something I read in the Washington Post last Saturday, it was in the print edition on Sunday, Packers gameday. Receiver Devin Thomas on his release from the Redskins:

Maybe they just don't want a big-play receiver that can do everything.

No Devin I do not think that was it. I think it was more along the lines of maybe they just want a guy that can run a reliable route, catch the ball when it hits his hands and that does not play smaller than his size.


Devin Thomas was former shadow general manager Vinny Cerrato's first draft pick as senior VP of Shit Disturbations in 2008, upon the retirement of Joe Gibbs owner Dan Snyder having fully elevated Vinny to the highest post any executive would prior to the 2009 meltdown and the begging and pleading for new real actual general manager Bruce Allen.

Going into the 2008 draft the Redskins needed, what else? Offensive line and defensive line help, they were old and hurt. Instead they used all three second round picks, two garnered in a big day of trades, on pass catchers, Michigan State receiver Devin Thomas, USC tight end Fred Davis and Oklahoma receiver Malcolm Kelly, the theory here obviously being that with new head coach Jim Zorn's brand of west coast offense that despite the age and lack of talent in other key positions that with all these pass catchers the Redskins could just play their way out of structural weakness.

Devin showed up to his rookie training camp out of shape, could not pass the receiver conditioning test then pulled a hamstring. Better (preseason) receivers were released on Cut Day that year in anticipation of some future performance Devin would be able to achieve.

His rookie year in 2008 with a pass happy new coach looking for a receiver to hang his offensive hat on, Devin started one game and missed six games due to injury, he finished 2008 with a modest fifteen catches for 120 yards and no touchdowns, Devin did find the end zone once in 2008, on a reverse run against the Giants in game twelve, a 23-7 Giants rout in the freezing rain.

Going into 2009 the expectations machine was on high for Devin, so high that I got the sense that team was saying it to make themselves feel it like, looking at that sad piece of trash you married and telling her MAYBE IF WE HAD ANOTHER BABY THAT'D BRING US CLOSER. IN 2009 Devin finished with 25 catches for 325 yards, he started ten games and had three touchdown catches, his notable game, the one that the Devin Thomas apologists latched onto was game twelve against the Super Bowl bound Saints, in a 33-30 loss Devin had seven catches for 100 yards and there was a tiny contingent in Washington that was shouting in little voices HE'S FINALLY ARRIVED.

Arriving in 2010 with a new coach and new general manager Devin had to start all over. All those things that were forgiven about Devin in favor of the upside were brought front and center and Devin was told, like everyone else, that he would have to win his job, that it did not matter where he was drafted or what his potential was, he was going to have to deliver.

They never saw it in Devin, giving 38 year old Joey Galloway and undrafted Anthony Armstrong depth spots ahead of Devin, his last gasp was in the return game and when head coach Mike Shanahan finally decided to take Brandon Banks out of the garage there was no need for a decent kick returner that the team did not trust to run a correct route or catch a ball that hit him in the hands.

In the end Devin lived in Washington for two seasons on potential and exited when he was not able to deliver in real life. I wish it had worked out with Devin, it did not and sadly the Redskins lose nothing without him. I wish Devin the best in Carolina and hope he comes back here with them in 2012 and proves me wrong by having a strong game in a Panthers loss.


It is said in that January meeting for Vinny's promotion that Vinny told Dan he could lead the team, that Dan told Vinny he believed in Vinny but was going to hold Vinny to his pledge to rebuild the team, and he did by firing Vinny in December of 2009. That 2008 draft was already in tatters before the team finally decided to part ways with Devin Thomas.

Devin Thomas: Getty Images from here.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Happy Birthday LaRon Landry

Harbinger of BOOM

Please join me and the entire staff of The Curly R in wishing a happy birthday to Redskins safety LaRon Landry, LaRon turns 26 years young today.

A first round pick of the Redskins in 2007 out of Louisiana State University, LaRon is in his fourth season with Washington, LaRon has truly come into his own in 2010 with a defensive scheme that allows him to maximize his talents for roaming sideline to sideline and knocking the shit out of opposing players. In five games so far this season LaRon leads the NFL by one measure in total tackles and solo tackles and there is no question he is one of the NFL's most improved players this season, he is laying a streak of fear everywhere he goes and even Sports Illustrated's Peter King is wondering if anyone in the NFL right now is playing better defense than LaRon Landry.

After projecting as a strong safety, playing near the line, coming into the NFL, LaRon was forced into duty as a pass covering free safety after the shooting death of teammate Sean Taylor in 2007, in 2008 LaRon seemed to embrace this position and like the team overall thrived in the first half of the season before looking vulnerable and falling prey to weaknesses and lack of discipline as a 6-2 started ended with an 8-8 finish.

In 2009 LaRon seemed to suffer from a lack of coaching and or a lack of focus as his vulnerability to receiver stutter moves became the stuff of jokes among football fans, last season ended with LaRon moved back up to the line, though still looking out of position and making mistakes and many Redskins fans wondered if LaRon was always going to be a headhunter, looking for the big hit, at the expense of the less than occasional late hit, and not able to assess the play developing at the line.

Come into 2010 and LaRon is the poster child for what is working in the Redskins switch to a 3-4 defense, LaRon can present so many looks and is so versatile in this defense that opposing offenses must account for him on every play. LaRon has one forced fumble and pulled in one interception, both in the Green Bay game Sunday, the forced fumble ended the Packers opening drive after two plays and the interception saved the game for the Redskins.

That is by no means the extent of LaRon's defensive contribution this season, he is laying some of the hardest wood I have ever seen and opposing players know what happens when LaRon meets you: You lose, a visibly exhausted receiver DeSean Jackson pulling up rather than be creamed by LaRon on the next to last play of the Eagles game two weeks ago happened right in front of my seats, I am telling you that for every hit LaRon lays this season there is a video session happening for all future opponents where the skill position players look at each other in silence and hope they are not the guy to get bricked.

Give him a new contract and I MEAN LIKE RIGHT NOW.

Happy birthday LaRon!

LaRon Landry: Getty Images from here. Apologies to Speed Racer the movie for the tagline.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Folsom Point 10/13/2010: Do We Actually Want This?

Set own posting schedule. CAN'T MEET OWN POSTING SCHEDULE!

Wherein we discuss the merits of Clinton Portis as the greatest Redskins ball carrier of them all.

Image by me with apologies to Advice Dog.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

It's Getting Harder

But I'll try

Danny is out with his week five video wrapping the Packers game, in which he sports the rocking Washington Bullets throwback jersey and nitpicks a few things about the 3-2 Redskins. Bonus points for the Matt Bowen reference.

YouTube from here.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

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


Out of the Box: A 1:00 pm game at last, lucky Redskins got this as a home game, the high flying Packers land in Washington for an early game on FOX, a test of the secondary and linebackers ensues.


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 look at this, with one quarter of the season in the books the Redskins are leading the NFC Beast. My my. And unlike in previous years, it looks as though the team is actually ready to play against Division rivals, in an environment where a team is building and results are uncertain and not expected in the first year, it is really nice to see the Redskin beat both the Cowboys and the Eagles.

And I still cannot figure out this team, they play differently from one half to the other and quarterback Donovan McNabb seems to suffer a second half drop off in games, except of course for those few passes to keep the team in the game and possibly win. Is this a conditioning issue? Talent? Strategy? Is the team just still learning to play together? Because that is what I think it is.


Curly R Aside: Ok enough is enough, after a summer when Donovan McNabb's contract was not a story but Donovan McNabb's contract was not a story was a story, it is now October and it is official: Donovan McNabb has earned a top payday from the Redskins and they need to get the Donovan McNabb's contract is not a story story off the front page and make Donovan McNabb's new contract the story. PAY THE MAN.


Oppo Research: There is a great bit of revisionist history out there about how much better off the Packers are without Brett Favre or how moving on with Aaron Rodgers was such a great idea. Both of these are true and not true, true in the sense that Aaron has been a great quarterback for the Packers, quarterback is most certainly not Green Bay's position of weakness, and if there is a better example in the modern era of a good quarterback waiting his turn and learning the game before getting his shot and shining, I cannot think of one, the Packers had been paying Aaron first round money since 2005 and the time was here to move on and start him.

Not true in the sense that Brett Favre is clearly still capable of playing this game at a high level and if the team was willing to risk losing their investment in Aaron Rodgers in exchange for keeping the Brett Favre era going a couple more years, then so be it.

They made a good football move in going forward with Aaron and made a bad public relations move by getting all butthurt over Brett's indecision then making him report to camp as the backup then shipping him out to the Jets when everyone knew he wanted to go to the Vikings. In future years Packers fans will remember Aaron was good but that they did not want to see Brett go out like that.

Now that the Vikings are struggling and not looking like a Super Bowl threat demanding to go to Minnesota kind of makes Brett look a little childish doesn't it?


Trainer's Table: Tailback Clinton Portis suffered a groin injury in the third quarter of the Eagles game, magnetic resonance imaging results are not back yet, though Clinton is still hobbled and will not play, Ryan Torain will get the start in Clinton's place. No one argues that Clinton is a tough guy, of all the injuries in Clinton's career, dislocated shoulder, broken hand, concussion, acute tendinitis right around training camp, Clinton claims never to have had a groin injury before (op. cit.). I think the talk of the end of Clinton Portis in Washington is a bit premature, then again what the hell do I know.




My Take in 60 Words or Less: The Packers are a solid team with weaknesses on offense, the Redskins must exploit those because I do not think Washington's offense will shine bright today.


Broadcast coverage, take a look at that, it is about as national as you can get for the 1:00 pm game, for the second week in a row we will be treated to the broadcast team of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman, I like this team as much as you can like any self important announcer with a fake TV voice and a one the former players I hate the most.

Enjoy the game, I will be watching from a comfy chair in Charlottesville Virginia.

This is a gameday open thread.

NFL helmet logos from here.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Brian Orakpo Was Not Held as a Child

Becoming unstoppable

Last Sunday night my game partner lifetime Eagles fan, season ticket holder and Curly R reader/lurker Wilbert Montgomery and I got back to Alexandria from the Eagles game in Philadelphia around 11:30 pm, the wife was there to help me pour the boys into bed and to see Wilbert Montgomery off on the last leg of his trip back to Fredericksburg, after he left she gave me her impressions of the game as she saw on TV, culminating with the humorous comment from one of her friends that Brian Orakpo must not have been held as a child. Because he is getting all that attention now. (Ed. note: The missus tells me the friend says she heard it from a caller on a radio show. -Ben)

In the season opening game one against Dallas Brian drew a holding penalty against replacement right tackle Alex Barron, after the initial euphoria wore off there was some amusing talk around the league, particularly among butthurt Cowboys fans, of a hometown call and how OMG they could call holding on every play OMG and this was the league wanting Mike Shanahan to get the opening win.

Turns out despite drawing another four holding penalties in the next four games, replays regularly are showing Brian being held behind the line.

The guy simply is turning into a force already in his second year, he has the traditional speed move, the ability to get outside the tackle off the snap, forcing the tackle to play from behind and either push Brian around the play or commit the hold.

As John Keim observes in the Washington Examiner today, Brian also can engage the tackle straight on, get inside his pads then redirect quickly around the side, forcing the tackle to make a lateral move, and most tackles cannot match Brian's side to side speed so they end up holding.

Brian does not have the club or the feint-swim moves of a freight train Reggie White type defensive end, and he may never have them, he is not that size and he may never need them, he can just take you on and beat you around the play.

These types of observations, that a guy like a Brian is drawing a high number of holding penalties, also have the effect of working the referees, now that it is in the open that this is what Brian does, the Ron Jaworskis and Pat Kirwans of the world are going to talk about it openly, if I was head of the Redskins video shop I would as we speak be preparing a tape of all the holding penalties on Brian that have not been called and I would deliver that tape with a big burgundy bow to the league office before Sunday's game.

Brian Orakpo being held by Dallas right tackle Alex Barron on the last play of the Cowboys game: AP photo from here.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Conflatulations Danny Rouhier

Marriage and the Redskins are sacred bonds

Danny Rouhier is out with his week four video, we learn the terrifying details of Danny's Eagles gameday experience, Danny actually flatlined and for a time was clinically dead.

As a married man I can say with authority that faking your own death is not sustainable as a method of blocking game time on Sundays.

YouTube from here.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010


I only wish this was the photo of Ryan BLOWING UP Quintin Mikell

Tailback Clinton Portis seemed to get pretty banged up even as he went into the line again and again in Sunday's incredibly physical game against the Eagles, in the third quarter he went down and paused the game, after the game we learned he quote felt a pop unquote in his leg.

After two days of gradually building suspense (Monday / Tuesday / Tuesday) today we learned Clinton has a serious injury and will be out four to six weeks with a third degree groin separation. Ouch.

The groin is generally known as the collection of hip adductor muscles, as far as I have been able to discern the term quote adductor unquote means to draw to the center line, there are four muscles in the adductor group making up the groin, the adductor longus, adductor magnus, adductor brevis and adductor canal.

A third degree separation of the groin is characterized by one or more of the following: Severe tearing of the muscle fibers, severely stretched tendons and or possible separation of the groin muscle(s) from either or both their bones or other muscles via tendons.

Fucking piker, hey Clinton come back when you have a fifth degree separation (I kid).

Four weeks means Clinton will miss Green Bay, Indianapolis, at Chicago and at Detroit. Six weeks, add the bye week and Philadelphia. After that there still are seven games on the schedule.

Time to see if Ryan Torain can carry the load and what the depth behind Ryan really looks like. Personally I thought Ryan was the best back in camp not named Clinton Portis and I still have yet to hear a good explanation why Keiland Williams made the team over Ryan yet still wound up on the practice squad while Ryan came from the practice squad and now has a guy off the street backing him up.

Before the 2008 season Clinton got the cash over cap restructure the Vinny Cerrato Redskins were so famous for, this 2010 season is the last year of guaranteed money in Clinton's contract. Jason Reid at the Washington Post is already wondering whether Clinton is done in Washington.

It is like old times, Clinton Portis goes down and now we get to root for a big back wearing number 46. Let us hope Ryan has the same success in 2010 Ladell Betts had in 2006, just with fewer fumbles.

Welcome to your big moment Ryan Torain.

Ryan Torain bulling through the Eagles defense: AP photo from here.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

The Folsom Point 10/5/2010: Civil Rest in Philadelphia

TV interview? OH SHIT.

Wherein we discuss the family friendly environment at Eagles Stadium (no really).

Image by me with apologies to Advice Dog.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Game 4: Redskins (1-2) at Eagles (2-1)


Out of the Box: The rivalry is back as the Washington Redskins travel up the road a piece to play the Philadelphia Eagles, 4:15 pm ET on FOX, a quarter of the way through the season and the outcome of this game determines the NFC Beast leader.


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: Oh mercy. We went from hope inspiring win to productive loss to the wheels are falling off in the span of three weeks, although totally predictable, any thought that Redskins fans may have a season's worth of patience for a team under new management is out the window. At least for crappy losses like last week's against the Rams.

Behind that worthless loss is the real concern Redskins fans have, that even after an entire offseason to plan, acquire and strategize, through the organized team activities and minicamps, training camp and four preseason games, that the coaches still do not really have a handle on what they have, what they want to do and are acting with no sense of urgency.

Redskins fans would have and still will continue to be patient with productive losses, those on the road to a persistently better football team. This crap with juggling positions and personalities and favoring the passing game over the running game does not qualify for the Football Amnesty program. Thus endeth the sermon, on to the week's news.

After getting shredded for thirty points in each of the last two games, head coach Mike Shanahan and defensive coordinator Jim Haslett reiterated their commitment to the 3-4 defense despite some glaring personnel deficiencies, perhaps best typified by watching linebacker slash defensive end Andre Carter struggle in pass coverage. Analysis: Redskins need a season or two in order to put solid 3-4 personnel in place.

After the Dive Heard Round the Beltway in the first quarter of the Rams game tailback Clinton Portis only had two carries, practice squad promotee Ryan Torain had most of the rest of the work. Clinton claimed he was falling to protect the ball, that the extra yards would not have mattered and that he has been coached to place a premium on ball safety. He blamed his wrist which he then claimed was actually hurt in the Dallas game two weeks earlier now even though Clinton will start there is some question as to what his exact role will be in the offense going forward. I have lost the plot with this guy. Analysis: Redskins need a season or two to identify a long term solution at tailback.

Looks like Kory Lichtensteiger is going to get a second straight start at left guard over Derrick Dockery (op. cit.) whose name is much easier to type. It is becoming apparent that coaches think of Kory as a better fit in their schemes than Derrick, Kory played the entire game at left guard last week at the Rams, a notion I am still a little confused about, I will be watching that position carefully in this game to see if I can make some sense of it. Analysis: Redskins need a season or two to lock down a steady starter at left guard.

The issue of age came back into focus this week with the perennially youthful Eagles on the schedule, for the second season in a row the Redskins have the oldest roster in the league, the Eagles have one of the youngest. The underlying issue is not the quality of play of Washington's veterans, it is that there is little quality depth and few up and coming players to challenge for playing time and make us feel good about the future. We all know how this happened, from years of ignoring key positions, signing the wrong free agents and wasting draft picks. Analysis: Redskins need a season or two to build depth and find the next generation of young and inexpensive players.

Speaking of those Eagles, our quarterback played there for eleven quote great unquote years and no matter what he thinks he will tell you he loved every minute of it. Donovan McNabb's emotional and football state will be on display tomorrow, his prediction and mine is they cheer for him.

And while we are in the topic of Donovan McNabb, I find it amusing that one of the criticisms of Dono during his eleven years in Philadelphia was that Donovan seems imperturbable, that he greets all turns of events with a smile and in so doing may have made Eagles fans to feel has had no emotion for the game, a critical component of personal success in that town. Amusing it is to me because that was a chief complaint about Jason Campbell when he was quarterbacking the team, never raging in the huddle, always keeping it medium. Will Redskins fans make this a double standard or is Donovan simply different, therefore requiring different assessment measures?

Finally, the Real roster continues to shape up, after being released to make room for tailback Ryan Torain who I thought was better than tailback Keiland Williams in camp, receiver slash returner Brandon Banks was signed back to the active roster, to make room for Brandon, Keiland was released. The wheels of football justice sometimes move slowly. Hopefully we will see Brandon in the game this week though his first three weeks in the league the team was hesitant to use him so I wonder what has changed.

For those keeping score at home, this makes eight straight Redskins games this season, four preseason and four regular season, without a 1:00 pm game, we still must wait another week for our first.


Curly R Aside: This game marks the start of my twelfth year attending Redskins-Eagles rivalry games with college friend, lifetime Eagles fan, season ticket holder and Curly R reader/lurker Wilbert Montgomery, today is our 22nd of the past 23 games, and my twentieth straight game without a miss, our overall streak goes back to 1999, which just coincidentally happens to be Donovan McNabb's rookie year with the Eagles. Hot weather, cold weather, rain, snow, dead car batteries, day games, night games, I have seen everything this rivalry has to give for more than a decade.

Today the ritual expands for the first time to include the next generation of Redskins fans, eight year olds Josh and Will Folsom, often mentioned and last seen here on Fan Appreciation Day of 2007 training camp, Wilbert Montgomery, who also happens to be their godfather, was gracious enough to extend a personal invitation to them for this game. They fully get the meaning of it all, they know our ritual goes back to before they were born. They could not be more excited. Of course there is the small matter of bringing eight year olds in Redskins jerseys to Eagles Stadium, a horrorshow I visited six times before finally mustering the courage to don colors for the first time in 2006.

We will have a good long talk in the car on the way there about personal safety and how to root in Philadelphia for the Redskins -- on the inside.


Oppo Research: Cannot talk about these Eagles without talking about quarterback Michael Vick who through three games is really playing the position at a higher level than he did before taking a two year leave of absence to serve time in jail for his dogfighting crimes, Donovan was an early post smaller proponent of Michael and even now says the guy was constantly working to make himself a better person and a better football player. I really do think Michael is a changed guy, not a saint, he realizes he only gets one shot at this stuff. In case you have forgotten about the sideshow that was Michael Vick, he was in the news so often that Curly R has a Michael Vick category.

There is a lot of talent on this Eagles team and they are dangerous with anyone under center, the way they are playing now, the entire offense is going through Michael Vick, get him off his game and you get the team off theirs.

Michael Vick though is not the only player excelling this year for the Eagles, one player in particular I have observed is LeSean aka Shady McCoy, with the release of Brian Westbrook in the offeseason LeSean has become the man in Philadelphia and he has proven to be most of what Brian was in the passing game and maybe even better in the running game. LeSean will be actively testing the middle of the Redskins defense today.

On defense the Jim Johnson legacy continues with defensive coordinator Sean McDermott, the Eagles are blitz happy and can come at you from multiple directions, they know Donovan McNabb's tendencies better than any team in the league which gives the Philadelphia defense a distinct advantage here, one outweighing any knowledge Dono may have of Eagles defensive habits.

As a matter of NFC Beast politics we may never really know a) Why the Eagles let Donovan go when and how they did, or b) Why they let him go a a division rival. The best I can figure is the Eagles did not want to pay what he would command as a veteran free agent after 2010 and assumed he did not have enough left in the tank to be a threat. Whatever the case, Eagles head coach Andy Reid says it was a tough decision. Read: Save his job.


Trainer's Table: Rookie left tackle Trent Williams missed last week's game, giving fourth year veteran Stephon Heyer his first start of the season (op. cit.), Trent's knee and toe were healed up enough that Trent returned to practice Wednesday, Thursday Trent was hopeful though we still did not know if he could go, Friday Trent was announced as a game time decision, and appeared in the Questionable category of the mandatory Friday injury report. Before the game Trent was declared inactive, this is his second straight game out.

Punter Josh Bidwell had to be helped off the field in pregame warmups last week against the Rams and was unable to punt in the game though he was able to hold on kicks, at first there was uncertainty, turns out the pain and the tweak he felt was scar tissue tearing off his surgically repaired hip, this has left him happy and more flexible than before, while this is good news for Josh I am still a bit leery about all this.


Gameplan: The Washington defense needs to get back where it was against Dallas and Houston, though without the scoring of Houston, the Redskins got to Matt Schaub all day, he was just able to find an outlet. If the team sits back and lets Michael Vick dictate the pace of the game then we might as well just call it for the Eagles now. Only an aggressive strategy to neutralize Michael will give the Redskins any chance to succeed, the team plans to have a defensive back spy Michael at all time, this is de rigeur for any team that has ever strategized against Michael and has not always been an effective tack. Is it even relevant to say at least one Redskins secondary player would rather face Kevin Kolb?

On offense, we are getting into goes without saying but bears repeating territory: Donovan's arm and Santana Moss' legs alone cannot win the game, there has to be something happening on the ground. Get out of last in red zone offense.


My Take in 60 Words or Less: An emotional day for Donovan and Eagles fans, and the NFC Beast lead on the line, let's go smashmouth.


Redskins inactives: left tackle Trent Williams, defensive linemen Vonnie Holliday, Anthony Bryant and Jeremy Jarmon, cornerback Kevin Barnes, linebacker Perry Riley and tight end Logan Paulsen. John Beck is the inactive emergency third quarterback.

Broadcast coverage, holy shit look at that coverage, this is late national game, we will be treated to Joe Buck and Troy Aikman.

Enjoy the game, I will be there, at the game with my kids, my longtime game partner Wilbert Montgomery and a camera to document the game for posterity, look for the game journal at some point.

This is a gameday open thread.

NFL helmet logos from here.