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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.
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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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