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Pre-Training Camp Press Conferences….

Posted by Matt Terl on July 29, 2009 – 2:43 pm

There were five press conferences this afternoon:

  • Head coach Jim Zorn, giving the pre-training camp State of the Redskins address (and reiterating that Michael Vick will not be a Redskin)
  • Mike Williams, talking about his weight loss and the battle for the right tackle position
  • Jeremy Jarmon, talking about becoming a Redskin
  • Chris Horton, discussing his upcoming sophomore season
  • Rocky McIntosh, talking about the defense and Coach Zorn’s pre-game speeches.

I’m still trying to put together stuff from the various conferences, but if you want to get a sense of what was going on, check my Twitter feed. I was updating live from the press room, and you can get a sense of some of the more interesting quotes and the general sense of the talks. Read more »

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Lindsay Czarniak Lunches With Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly

Posted by Matt Terl on July 29, 2009 – 10:02 am

Sure, it’s exciting that Malcolm Kelly and Devin Thomas are both healthy and motivated heading into next year’s training camp. I’m genuinely expecting big things from both of them.

And it’s interesting to learn that NBC-4’s Lindsay Czarniak used to work at Sweetwater Tavern, while Thomas used to work at Wendy’s. But I think the most important takeaway from this video is that Malcolm Kelly actually orders a Shirley Temple, apparently without even a hint of irony. I didn’t even think they still made those.

Plus, one more reason to look forward to Kelly’s first NFL touchdown: more freestyling. All in all, an eminently watchable video, complete with a terrific headline: “Second-Year Skins Receivers a Fun, um, Bunch?” Read more »

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Wednesday, July 29: The Conditioning Test Is No Joke

Posted by Matt Terl on July 29, 2009 – 8:53 am

Tomorrow, after a seemingly endless stretch of downtime, training camp starts back up. Once upon a time in the misty NFL past, “training camp” meant exactly what it sounds like: a bunch of out-of-shape players would show up, many having worked non-football jobs during the offseason, and the coaching staff would use a grueling camp to whip them into shape.

That’s not so much the case now. Between organized offseason team workouts, non-team-related but still organized workouts, and individual workouts, players now show up to camp in shape and use the training camp to get into game shape. But teams still need to be sure that players are prepared to go through the rigors of training camp (no matter how in shape they appear), which is why there is a conditioning test that everyone has to pass before training camp.

The conditioning test made its way into the spotlight last year when Coach Zorn talked about how then-rookie wide receivers Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly had not been able to pass it.

“If you can’t pass that physical test that we give, then something’s not right,” Zorn said at the time according to the Washington Post. “So I’ve been kind of jabbing at them with that. . . . I wish I could take the test just to show everybody that I was in good shape. It’s sort of a pride issue.”

Zorn isn’t the only one who wanted to take the test.

Read more »

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Jeremy Jarmon Signs

Posted by Matt Terl on July 28, 2009 – 1:58 pm

The Redskins signed supplemental draft choice DE Jeremy Jarmon today, leaving LB/DE Brian Orakpo as the last remaining unsigned 2009 draft pick. Terms, of course, were not disclosed.

It is now safe to go back to the post from the Kevin Barnes signing and mentally scratch out the “(Sort Of)” in the title. When and if I hear news about Orakpo, I’ll pass it along, but my read on the subject hasn’t changed since I wrote on the subject in that Barnes post. Read more »

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Still Hearing That Michael Vick Is NOT Coming Here

Posted by Matt Terl on July 28, 2009 – 10:11 am

In case you’ve somehow missed it, here’s a quick update of the rumor mill as of this morning:

Basically, you need to know three things:

1) Michael Vick was conditionally reinstated to the NFL yesterday.

2) The Redskins are connected to every big name free agent who hits the market.

3) Tanner Cooley mentioned on Twitter last night that Vick had been spotted at a restaurant in Ashburn, Va., not far from Redskins Park.

From there, it was a short ride to all the panic and soul-searching and enthusiasm and confident Vick-is-a-Redskin pronouncements you would expect.

I’ve been hearing for weeks that there was no way Vick was coming to the Redskins , and nothing that I’ve heard in the last 24 hours has changed that. Which, I’ll be honest, makes me pretty happy.

The team that makes the most sense to me for Vick? It would have to be the Patriots. Read more »

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Thursday, July 28: Jim Zorn Discusses Jason Campbell, His Philosophy, and Year Two

Posted by Matt Terl on July 28, 2009 – 8:09 am

Gary Fitzgerald of and I sat down with head coach Jim Zorn not long ago to discuss the start of Zorn’s second year as a head coach. One of the things I was most curious about was — surprise! — what Zorn’s expectations were of Jason Campbell.

I wasn’t only interested because of Campbell’s much-talked-about tumultuous offseason; there are two other elements of the Zorn/Campbell dynamic that intrigue me. First, the word on Zorn’s system has always been that it might take a QB a year to master it. And second, I’ve always felt like Zorn had more faith in Campbell than people generally assume.

Here’s the portion of the interview that addresses those two questions; check out the whole thing at

Q: What specifically in Jason Campbell’s development this offseason is going to help drive where this offense goes?

A: “He’s much more explosive away from the line of scrimmage. He’s playing at a higher physical level, just in terms of his ability. He has made himself understand what we’re trying to do. He understands more about the athleticism that it takes to play the quarterback position. And I think he’s seeing that he’s a pretty good athlete.

“What he learned last year, even up to game 16, was just the nature of being on the line of scrimmage and controlling the run game, controlling the passing game and controlling the protection situations. And then, when the ball is snapped, he learned how to read and throw on the kind of rhythm that we expect from him.

“Jason progressed as he went along. Now, with the comfort of the terminology, with the comfort of what the expectations are, I think Jason has risen up.”

Q: In looking at your past history as a quarterbacks coach in Seattle, Matt Hasselbeck in his second year in this offense made a good, solid jump in terms of production. Can Jason Campbell do the same?
Read more »

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An Optimistic Season Preview, Courtesy Of Madden NFL 10

Posted by Matt Terl on July 27, 2009 – 5:11 pm

Let’s be honest: there hasn’t been a whole lot of positivity about the Redskins in the national media this offseason. Most early power rankings have them in the 20s, most prognosticators have them finishing fourth in the competitive NFC East, and, basically, the strong start to last year seems to have been forgotten and eclipsed by the fade down the stretch.

Wouldn’t it be nice, though, if there were some sort of truly objective observer? Some kind of computer program, say, that would compile the statistics and project the season based on the team’s abilities rather than on some ephemeral belief that Jason Campbell is going to play poorly because his feelings were hurt in April?

Well, video game review site simulated the entire 2009 NFL season in EA Sports’ Madden NFL 10 as a way of simultaneously previewing the NFL season and the upcoming release of the new Madden game.

Some of the final standings are predictable: the Steelers and Ravens go to the playoffs out of the AFC North, and they’re joined by the Colts, Titans, Patriots and Chargers. The Saints, Cardinals, Falcons and Eagles also make the postseason — no real surprises there. The Packers win the NFC North, which would be somewhat surprising but not completely incomprehensible.

But the NFC East… well, that doesn’t go quite as people expect:

That’s the Redskins on top with a 13-3 record, best overall in the NFC, with the Giants falling to a surprising 6-10 and last in the division. (If this actually happens, by the way, the entire preseason sports prognostication industry might collapse in on itself like a dying star.)

Read more »

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Monday, July 27: Casey Rabach Needs A New RV For Training Camp

Posted by Matt Terl on July 27, 2009 – 12:19 pm

The law of unintended consequences is about to catch up with Casey Rabach.

When Rabach’s friend and offensive-linemate Jon Jansen was released (and signed with Detroit), Rabach took a philosophical,”that’s the way this business works” approach to the situation. Which made sense at the time, because … well, that’s the way this business works. But in just a couple of days, there will be a very physical, very tangible reminder of Jansen’s absence: no RV at training camp.

It had become a training camp tradition: Jansen would park an RV on the outskirts of the parking lot at Redskins park, and a select group of players — mainly offensive linemen — would use it as a mid-day escape from training camp.

“Jon brought his RV here, which was a Class A RV. It had satellite TV, air conditioning, bathroom facilities, kitchen facilities, and fridge. And during practices and time off, we’d all get out there, catch a snooze, catch a little movie time … it was just a place to kind of hang out and get away from football.”

Not having this getaway represents something of a problem for Rabach, so he’s determined to do something about it.

“I’m putting out some feelers here. I’m hoping there’s a die-hard Redskins fan out there that won’t be using their RV during training camp. And if so, if they want to lend it to some of their favorite Redskins — you know, me, Chris Cooley, some other guys that might be sprinkled in there — we’ll gently use it, keep it in immaculate shape, but maybe they can hook us up for an oasis away from camp. We’ll definitely have power out there, but a generator would also be nice in case, you know, we have problems.”

Rabach does not expect anyone to do this sort of thing out of the goodness of their hearts, though.
Read more »

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A Few Links Heading Into The Weekend

Posted by Matt Terl on July 24, 2009 – 1:48 pm

“There aren’t many times when you have a player like that hit free agency, a guy who can change the balance of power,” one long-time agent said. “You’ve had Reggie White and Deion Sanders [with San Francisco and Dallas], just a couple of guys with that kind of talent [who were able] to switch teams. They helped their teams win Super Bowls. That’s huge and it helps the case for the players.

“Most of the time, the players who hit free agency aren’t truly premier guys. It just doesn’t happen. That’s why a lot of people look back at free agents and say, ‘Oh, that guy was a bust.’ He wasn’t really a bust, he just wasn’t worth all the excitement that was created. It’s a real perception thing.”

Off-the-field, though, I’m frankly amazed to find out that Haynesworth not only has “stark-white, ostrich-skin furniture,” but that he has that furniture in his yacht. Lifestyles Of The Rich And Famous stuff aside, this is a really in-depth piece of writing.

Read more »

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More Jumping With Keith Eloi

Posted by Matt Terl on July 23, 2009 – 11:25 pm

My favorite part of the video that turned rookie WR Keith Eloi into a YouTube sensation — the one where he jumped into the back of a pickup truck — was his buddy at the end yelling “JUMP OUT THE POOL ON THAT!” That challenge was in reference to a previous YouTube phenomenon in which Bears rookie Jarron Gilbert does, in fact, jump out of a pool.

All of that led to something of a friendly rivalry between Eloi and Gilbert, much of which seemed to focus on who could do more impressive feats of leaping and put the video on the internet. Honestly, though, I sort of figured the whole thing would die down as we got closer to training camps and the chance for these guys to impress people in non-internet-video ways.

Shows what I know. Intern Matt received a link to this video late Thursday and forwarded it on to me, and it appears to be Keith Eloi jumping out of the pool, a la Jarron Gilbert … only Eloi is doing it backwards.

Something about the jump looks strange to me, although it’s not like I’ve seen a lot of similar stuff to compare it to, but I figured it was worth posting either way. Per Intern Matt, Eloi says this was shot with a phone, and that he’s done with the stunts after this one. I’ll try to catch up with Eloi for more details soon. Read more »

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