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  • Thu., Oct. 19, 2017 2:30 PM - 4:30 PM EDT Jay Gruden, Kirk Cousins And Greg Manusky At The Podium Tune in to hear Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruden, quarterback Kirk Cousins and defensive coordinator Greg Manusky talk at the Inova Sports Performance Center at Redskins Park in Loudoun County, Va.
  • Fri., Oct. 20, 2017 2:30 PM - 3:30 PM EDT Live Jay Gruden At The Podium Tune in to hear Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruden talks at the Inova Sports Performance Center at Redskins Park in Loudoun County, Va.
  • Sat., Oct. 21, 2017 1:30 PM - 2:00 PM EDT Live Jay Gruden At The Podium Tune in to hear Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruden talks at the Inova Sports Performance Center at Redskins Park in Loudoun County, Va.
  • Mon., Oct. 23, 2017 7:30 PM - 7:50 PM EDT Live Redskins-Eagles Pregame Show Tune in to watch the pregame happenings from the Washington Redskins' Week 7 game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field.
  • Mon., Oct. 23, 2017 11:30 PM - 11:59 PM EDT Live Jay Gruden, Kirk Cousins At The Podium Tune in to watch head coach Jay Gruden and quarterback Kirk Cousins talk to the media at Lincoln Financial Field.
  • Tue., Oct. 24, 2017 12:00 AM - 1:30 AM EDT Live Jay Gruden, Kirk Cousins At The Podium Tune in to watch head coach Jay Gruden and quarterback Kirk Cousins talk to the media at Lincoln Financial Field.

Voting Time Again

Posted by Matt Terl on September 30, 2008 – 3:05 pm

Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

For as much as I’ve griped that the Redskins hadn’t been getting the attention they’ve deserved this season, the various sponsored individual player awards on NFL.com have certainly taken notice. Seems like I’ve done a post like this every week of the season, and this week is the biggest yet. Here’s the rundown, with links for voting:

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Tuesday, September 30: Just Because You're Paranoid…

Posted by Matt Terl on September 30, 2008 – 8:03 am

Given that I spent a whole bunch of words yesterday reveling in the fact that a couple of sportswriters gave the Redskins credit for a non-fluke victory, I think it’s safe to say that I have a little bit of a complex when it comes to the credit the Redskins get. It’s not just me, of course; almost all Redskins fans are convinced that half the major media writers (Dr. Z, Peter King, Len Pasquarelli) hate their team, and even Santana Moss mentioned in his press conference yesterday that “That’s how it is. I don’t think Redskins ever get any credit for doin’ nothin’…. You know, whether you go to the playoffs one year or not, we always gonna be that team that you look down on.”

So it stood to reason that someone was going to find some way to question the Redskins win yesterday. Michael David Smith at NFL Fanhouse finds (via The Landry Hat) a way to do that: in a game that the Redskins won by two points, it would certainly raise some questions if a field goal that was called good actually went wide left.

The video on NFL.com completely fails to convince me either way, and pausing it at 2:17 (as The Landry Hat suggests) doesn’t really clarify matters. Here’s a screen capture at that spot.

Leaving aside the fact that it is impossible to judge precisely where the ball is in relation to the end line at a given time from this angle, here’s the same screen capture of the same moment with the ball circled and the upright extended to infinity (or to the border of the image, which complies better with the laws of physics and saves me some complicated math).

At the very least, this proves that you cannot accurately determine where the ball is in relation to the crossbar from this camera angle, and also that – at a point that looks to me like it’s about where the ball crosses the goalpost – it’s inside the upright.

Smith disagrees with me:

I believe that the ball went just wide left (to the right from the vantage point of watching the NFL.com highlights) and the official standing directly under the goal post screwed up.

It’s possible that I’m seeing it wrong on the replay and the official under the goal post saw it right, but I don’t think so: I’ve reviewed the play frame-by-frame in high-definition via the DirecTV short cut, and I think the camera angle actually gives people watching on TV a better view than the on-field official had. It’s a strange call to get wrong, but I think that official did.

I’m skeptical that any camera angle can be a better view of whether a ball cleared the upright than standing directly underneath the upright in question, but Smith seems pretty firm on the subject, and he’s not usually one given to histrionics.

Leaving aside the whole “even if the Redskins missed the field goal, there’s no guarantee that the rest of the game goes the way it did so you can’t say they’d lose” argument, because it is impossible to prove and therefore pointless, there’s another screen capture from the highlights that is ultimately more relevant to the actual outcome of the game than any of the above theorizing.

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Monday Redskins Links – 9/29

Posted by Matt Terl on September 29, 2008 – 5:02 pm

  • Homer McFanboy posts his traditional postgame wrap-up in the form of a playlist. I’m not a huge fan of all of his song choices, but his game review is sound, and he gets in a good line about the hole in the stadium roof:

    Since 1971, Cowboys fans have said that the hole in the roof of Texas Stadium was designed so that God, himself, could watch his favorite team on Sundays. Well, if that’s the case, then the big guy had to be pleased watching two of his biggest fans, receivers James Thrash and Antwaan Randle El, each catch a touchdown in the Redskins’ win.


  • Sunday’s Dallas Morning News featured an entertaining (if brief) article about the odd, amusing friendship-slash-rivalry between Daniel Snyder and Jerry Jones, and Dan Steinberg watches FOX’s TV cameras capture Snyder’s enthusiasm after the Dallas win. The two combine to paint a different picture of the team owner than what we usually see.
  • And some sort of incomprehensibly math-heavy NFL Ratings by Jeff Sagarin at USA Today declare that the Redskins are the number one team in the NFL at this moment. Sometimes – very infrequently – I love math, and this is one of those times.

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Peter King Makes Up for Lost Time, Others Assess Flukiness

Posted by Matt Terl on September 29, 2008 – 4:53 pm

After two straight weeks of my passive-aggressive griping about Peter King ignoring the Redskins, two weeks of debating if it’s better to fly under the radar, the win in Dallas has changed things around juuuuuuuust slightly.

In today’s Monday Morning Quarterback column

  • The Redskins move up at least twelve places in the “Fine Fifteen,” from unranked to fourth. (“After opening night, I thought there’d be a better chance this team would be ranked 32nd than fourth by the end of September,” he cheerily notes.) Clark Judge at CBS Sports also has the Redskins fourth.
  • Jim Zorn is named favorite for Coach of the Year after a quarter of the season.
  • Jim Zorn is named Coach of the Week for this week. (Narrowly edging out Eric Mangini, I’m sure, who acknowledges in King’s “Factoid of the Week” that last night’s season premiere of Family Guy would be a bigger event in his day than his team’s win.)

That’s a lot of love from one columnist, and SI.com’s Don Banks chimes in as well, in his Snap Judgments column.

There was not a thing fluky about the Redskins’ road upset of the previously 3-0 Cowboys. Washington beat Dallas soundly, even though the final score was only 26-24. This should put a dose of smelling salts under the Cowboys’ noses, because while they generated talk of being the NFL’s best team in the season’s first three weeks, the reality is they’re not even the best team in their division. In fact, they’re not even the second-best team in the NFC East. I’ll take the Giants (3-0) and the Redskins (3-1) over them, and the Eagles are just a half-step behind.

This is a fairly sudden swerve from his assertion Friday that the Redskins were the #1 team with a winning record that was going to miss the playoffs. In fact, it’s almost the exact opposite.

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Coach Zorn Press Conference – 9/29

Posted by Matt Terl on September 29, 2008 – 3:10 pm

Watching Coach Zorn dribble the football in practice – something he makes look confusingly, perplexingly easy – is less interesting than hearing his press conference. But not by much – it’s surprisingly hypnotic. (Photo by Ned Dishman.)

  • London Fletcher apparently tried to explain to Coach Zorn that the Seattle/Oakland rivalry isn’t comparable to Redskins/Cowboys, but Zorn is continuing to downplay the significance. “I felt much like I’ve felt in the past about rivalries. It’s just a big game. I didn’t have a sense of hate. I didn’t have a secret T-shirt on saying ‘Beat Dallas’ or whatever.” This begged a follow-up question, which was asked: did you have have secret Raiders T-shirts? “Yeah, Raiderbusters! AbsoLUTEly!”
  • I didn’t hear him use the word “medium,” but Zorn did manage to work in one of his other favorite words, calling Marion Barber a “violent” running back. I should be tallying this.
  • On Carlos Rogers stepping up, Zorn called it “an awesome job,” and called special attention to the fourth quarter series where Rogers made three straight plays defending Terrell Owens: “He put his stamp on that series. It was totally him.”
  • Every time Coach Zorn talks about calling plays, I think of chess players (even though I hate the football:chess comparison for a variety of other reasons). This comment from today, for example: “I’ve always felt comfortable calling plays. I always have the next play in my mind or on the tip of my tongue.” Further on that subject, he claimed to have no feelings of “I told you so” about the long wait to become a head coach. This is the one thing he’s said that I’m not sure I completely believe, even though he says it perfectly convincingly.
  • One of the few calls Coach Zorn has made that has felt like a bad choice to me was the fade to Santana Moss in the corner of the endzone toward the end of the second quarter. That’s a throw for a tall receiver, or it was before the new force-out rules – and Zorn agrees. “I was mad at myself,” he said, acknowledging that it was a questionable call in that situation.
  • Someone asked if it was a busted coverage that had gotten Santana Moss so very open on the 53 yard completion from Campbell, and Zorn actually bristled a little bit. “That was the play,” he said. “It wasn’t a broken play, thank you very much.” While his faux-anger was amusing, the most entertaining thing about his analysis of the play was that he actually seemed to be managing slight disappointment that Campbell hadn’t – throwing on the run, remember – managed to lead Moss to the endzone. “I couldn’t fault Jason on the throw,” he said, “even though it was short.”
  • For all his focus on playcalling and gameplanning, Zorn is candid about what is most important. “I brought the gameplan into the offensive meeting and, ‘Okay guys, here it is … and it means NOTHING without execution.’ Scheme is good, but execution of the scheme makes all the difference.”
  • Zorn attributed his fondness for the “hip hip hooray” cheer to Chuck Knox, who used it in Seattle, acknowledging that it seemed old school even then, but “kinda fired me up.” Told that George Allen had done the same thing here in D.C., Zorn almost beamed. “I couldn’t believe that” when I heard, he said. “That’s providence.”
  • Injury updates: Stephon Heyer tweaked his shoulder. Randy Thomas has a little turf toe. Shawn Springs is managing his calf injury. Jason Taylor is reportedly walking around. And for all of these guys, we’ll have more details on actual status and availability on Wednesday. One thing the players have to be aware of, Zorn noted, “is the difference between being injured and being sore.” Because everyone is going to be sore after a game like that.

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A Completely Unemotional Farewell Tour of Texas Stadium

Posted by Matt Terl on September 29, 2008 – 11:47 am

You might have heard some mention that yesterday’s game was the last time the Redskins would be playing a regular season game at Texas Stadium. It came up one or two times in the run up to the game, and it’s POSSIBLE that someone might have alluded to it after the game.

So it was pretty exciting for me as a Redskins fan to get to see the old place before it closed. Lot of history there, I figured. Hole in the roof so God can watch, I figured. NFL landmark, I figured. Must be pretty impressive, I figured. Which made it pretty surprising when I found out just how shabby so much of the place was. Not hideous, not a disaster area, just … a little run down.

(Let me hurry to mention that the PEOPLE there — fans and employees alike — were all kind and pleasant, and the Dallas PR staff was attentive almost to the point of obsequiousness. No complaints about them whatsoever. These observations apply solely to infrastructure.)

Everyone else knew about this, apparently. Every time I mentioned to someone — in the press box, on the sidelines, on the bus to the airport — how beat-up the place looked, they cheerfully agreed. The word most commonly used was “dump”. But I didn’t know that going in, and since I didn’t know I’m going to guess that a lot of other people don’t know. So here’s a quick look at some of what I was able to see.

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Monday, September 29: At The Game – Chief J and Chief Z

Posted by Matt Terl on September 29, 2008 – 7:20 am

Everyone knows Chief Zee, the longtime unofficial mascot of the Redskins. Zema Williams has been rooting on the team in his chiefly attire for thirty years now, and Redskins fans have seen him at home games, away games, in commercials, at charity events, at restaurants … I even know people who claim to have run into Chief Zee at the grocery store. My family has pictures of him holding an infant version of me at old RFK stadium. Chris Cooley recently mobilized the entire internet just to find Chief Zee’s stolen property.

Point is, Chief Zee is one of those Washington institutions that you would see in an establishing montage of D.C., sandwiched in with a monument or memorial, a cherry blossom, the exterior of a Metro station, a picture of the President grinning, Ben’s Chili Bowl, and former Mayor Marion Barry. Most of the time, you don’t think about who’s going to succeed an icon.

Unless you’re Fort Washington, MD, native and Redskins season ticket holder Anthony Jordan, that is.

Jordan calls himself Big Chief J Strongbone, and views Chief Zee as inspiration, forerunner, and — he hopes — mentor. “I’m hoping to get the opportunity to meet him and get him to pass the tomahawk on to me when he’s done,” he says. “I’m like his apprentice, a padawan of Chief Zee.”

Have you caught any heat from Dallas fans?

“Oh, no,” he says, sounding surprised. “I love coming to Dallas. There’s so much love here, from Redskins fans AND Cowboys fans, nothing but love.” I’ll admit, Cowboys fans have been much nicer than I expected, but I’m not sure I’d go that far. Do you always head out to games dressed like this?

“Oh, yeah. Well, I used to have a different headdress on, a black one, but for Dallas I wanted to get a new one.” It’s a very intimidating headdress, especially combined with the faux-bone chestpiece he’s wearing, and when I tell him so he brandishes his tomahawk at me. The tomahawk is not quite so intimidating. In fact, I can’t quite tell what it is.

“It’s a handmade tomahawk,” he explains. Right, but what actually IS it? “It’s a helmet on a nerf ball. It’s a new approach to the tomahawk.” It certainly is.

Chief J still hadn’t met Chief Zee when I left the field, and Chief Zee was too busy posing for pictures when I suggested he come around and meet Chief J with me. I left him to it and headed off to the press box, but as I left I could only wonder one, very basic thing: if Chief Zee did agree to mentor Chief J, would they have to ask Roc-A-Fella Records for permission to appear as Chief Jay-Z?

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Redskins @ Dallas – Redskins Fans, Postgame

Posted by Matt Terl on September 28, 2008 – 8:49 pm

The brave folks who were singing Hail to the Redskins, as seen through the pressbox window after the game. We’re off to the airport, and we’ll be home some time after midnight, but plenty more from Dallas and about this game tomorrow.

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Redskins @ Dallas – Redskins Fans, Pregame

Posted by Matt Terl on September 28, 2008 – 7:50 pm

Just a few photos, as we hustle to get things together and get on to the buses to the airport to the planes home. These are Redskins fans before the game.

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Redskins @ Dallas – Fourth Quarter Thoughts

Posted by Matt Terl on September 28, 2008 – 7:33 pm

  • The Redskins dodged two bullets before getting that field goal – it really looked like Jon Jansen false started on second down, and the third down pass that bounced off of Santana Moss certainly seemed to hang in the air FOREVER, at least from up here. I’m not thrilled about settling for a field goal, especially since it leaves the lead at less than a touchdown-plus-PAT, but it’s also lucky that they got that much.
  • With Shawn Springs still on the bench with cramps, it appears that responsibility for Terrell Owens has shifted to Carlos Rogers. There have been points in Rogers’s career where that would have sounded like a terrifying prospect, but he’s been playing well lately – and he demonstrated it there, as Dallas went to Owens three straight times, and each time Rogers was the closest defender.
  • Clinton Portis is getting visibly stronger as the game wears on, and the Dallas defense is looking steadily more tired. The temptation is strong to hope that ZOrn continues the aggressive playcalling that’s impressed everyone through the season so far, but it seems unnecessary to move away from the run when it’s doing so well. Ultimately, Zorn agrees, running on third down – and it’s the wrong decision, although it’s all made completely moot by a twelve men on the field penalty against Dallas. I like lateral solutions to problems.
  • The Dallas Cowboys have an official brick. (<a href=”http://www.brick.com/”Acme Brick, if you’re curious.) I’m not sure why I find that any stranger than an official soft drink or official beer or official cheese-filled snack, but I do.
  • TERRIFYING PRESS BOX FACT: Everyone up here seems to be trying to figure out the last time the Redskins went this long without a turnover. It is becoming an obsession. People from various newspapers, Redskins PR staffers, random passers-by … all looking. Short of running onto the field to ask Jason Campbell if he knows the answer, I cannot think of a jinxier thing to do at this precise moment. I desperately wish they would stop.
  • The Durant Brooks Redemption Story adds another brief chapter, as the beleaguered rookie holder pulls down a high snap and gets it in position for Suisham to boot the Skins to a nine point lead.
  • The Redskins special teams looked amazingly fired up before that kickoff, and they looked pretty fired up running down to cover it as well. Chris Horton is performing remarkably in just about every phase of the game.
  • Either the Redskins have shifted back into some sort of ill-advised prevent defense, or the Cowboys were just waiting for the end of the fourth quarter to unveil the effective part of their offense. They’re annihilating the middle of the field, using Jason Witten and Miles Austin, and they’re managing to make me feel very, very tense.
  • Well, that certainly got very exciting toward the end, didn’t it? Miles Austin fantasy owners nationwide are thrilled, but it nearly gave me a heart attack.
  • Fans outside are shouting “We beat the best team in the NFL! What does that make us?!?” Which is probably a bit of overstatement, but that right there is one ENORMOUS win for this football team. I wonder if they’ll move up in all the arbitrary power rankings now.

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