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Practice – A Kicking Competition! Or Not.

Posted by Matt Terl on August 31, 2009 – 5:49 pm

Despite the absence of Albert Haynesworth, Kareem Moore, Carlos Rogers, and Randy Thomas from this afternoon’s practice, the big news was the kicking competition. Each of the two competitors for the placekicker position attempted seven field goals of varying lengths and in various simulated pressure situations. Shaun Suisham made six and missed one; Dave Rayner made five and missed two.

This was, frankly, a pretty inconclusive result. Here’s head coach Jim Zorn on the subject after practice: “It was good,” he said of the competition. “They both made most of their field goals. I thought it was interesting to see the rhythm and the timing. There are some things that will show up, I think. They’re competing hard. Again, we hope they get some kicks in the game so that we can see more. It will be a last minute decision as we go along here because it’s not clear.”

Meanwhile, these fourteen kicks were such a big deal that the media was allowed to stay out on the sidelines a bit later than usual so they could watch, and the two kickers were swarmed as they came off the field after practice.

Problem was, what was presented to the media as something decisive and interesting didn’t have quite the same cachet for the kickers themselves. Read more »

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Inside Redskins Park: The Lunchroom Suggestion Board

Posted by Matt Terl on August 31, 2009 – 12:31 pm

The crowdsourcing trend has finally hit Redskins Park, in a somewhat unexpected spot: the dining room. Before last week, there was a line of chafing dishes containing an assortment of different main dishes, sides, starches, followed by a sandwich platter and usually a wrap or two, and a salad bar.

At some point this preseason, though, the catering company decided that it was time to solicit some opinions from their customers and a dry-erase board went up with the title “Requests From The Chef”. The suggestions have ranged from the quotidian (“chicken parmesan”; “flounder”) to the more exotic (“oxtail stew”) to the non-food-related (“rest”). I was curious about the oxtail stew, but had no way of narrowing down who would be interested in something like that.

But when “poutine” was written on the board one day, I could immediately narrow it down. Poutine — french fries covered with beef gravy and cheese curds — is a distinctly Canadian dish, so I knew we were looking at the Canadian Contingent: actual Canadian Shaun Suisham, and former CFL players Dominique Dorsey and Chris Wilson.

Dorsey had never even tried poutine. “I looked at it, and I was like, ‘What is that?’ People keep telling me to try it, but….” He trailed off. During his time in Canada, he stuck to tastes of home. “I just ate the regular stuff they had up there: KFC, Popeyes, and all that good stuff. I never branched off too much,” he said. “I know my limits.”
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Monday, August 31: Monday Morning Quarterbacking Thursday Night's Quarterbacking

Posted by Matt Terl on August 31, 2009 – 9:20 am

Thursday night’s game at Jacksonville is the last preseason game, traditionally a time to give your starters as little work as possible — just enough to keep the rust off, really — and to let the young guys try to earn a spot on the team. It worked last year for Alfred Fincher, who flashed in last year’s Jacksonville game and basically forced his way on to the roster, and there are plenty of guys who could find themselves in similar situations Thursday.

Here’s Coach Zorn, talking yesterday about who he plans to get in the game Thursday night: Read more »

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Sunday, August 30 – Five Players Released

Posted by Matt Terl on August 30, 2009 – 4:22 pm

The Redskins released five players today, trimming their roster to 75 guys a few days ahead of the September 1 deadline. Released were CB Michael Grant, LB Alfred Fincher, DT Michael Marquardt, WR Marques Hagans, and T Devin Clark.

Whether the releases provided a spark or not is up for discussion, but there’s no doubt that today’s practice was spirited and lively, with plenty of pushing and jawing despite it only being a shorts-and-shells deal. Kareem Moore and Marcus Mason were on the side doing rehab work. Carlos Rogers did not practice again, nor did Clinton Portis. And Albert Haynesworth missed the practice with stomach issues.

Afterward, though, a lot of the talk surrounded the cuts.

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Anthony Alridge Looks Fast In A Game As Well

Posted by Matt Terl on August 29, 2009 – 2:53 pm

I’ve mentioned before just how fast Anthony Alridge is. (Brief summary: very.) And I think I’ve mentioned how fidgety he is, how he looks fast even when he’s standing still.

That fidgetiness didn’t serve him very well when he was in a walking boot for the last two weeks. Every time I saw him, he seemed frustrated, convinced that he’d get out of the boot at any second and be just as fast as he was beforehand.

I was dubious, to say the least. But he carried the ball nine times last night for 49 yards, an impressive 5.4 yard average, and looked on the football field an awful lot like he did against those fourteen-year-olds a few months back. And he couldn’t have been happier just to get out on the field.

“It felt great,” he told me after the game. “I ain’t been in a uniform for like a year, been in any kind of uniform. I don’t care if it was our away jerseys, I was just happy to be out there. I had fun out there. I wish I coulda got in a little bit more, but I got my feet wet. I definitely feel like I ran hard. I knew my assignments, and I did my best.”
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Coach Zorn's Sunday Press Conference

Posted by Matt Terl on August 29, 2009 – 2:50 pm

http://p.castfire.com/oYeso/video/148941/redskins_2009-08-29-141450.flv Read more »

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Mike Sellers Apologizes For American Flag Mistake

Posted by Matt Terl on August 29, 2009 – 12:23 pm


I was on the sidelines during player introductions last night; I saw Mike Sellers run out with the flag, but what happened next was lost in a mass of players and cheerleaders and cameramen and all the other visual clutter you get from that vantage point. So here’s the description from ESPN.com:

An unsightly breach of patriotic etiquette: Redskins FB Mike Sellers, carrying the American flag onto the field during pregame introductions, flung the Stars and Stripes onto the ground near the 50-yard line. After a few seconds, LB Robert Hanson walked over and rescued the flag off the turf.

Moments ago, a visibly chagrined Sellers addressed the media about the incident. “It’s been brought to my attention,” he said, “carrying the flag out yesterday that I didn’t put it in the proper spot after carrying it out. I meant no disrepect. My father retired [after] thirty-something years, almost; I grew up as an army brat. I know the conduct when it comes to the flag, and I made a mistake by setting it down the way I did, and I’d like to apologize if I offended anybody out there.

“I was asked to bring it out last-minute, didn’t know who to give it to, got hyped up, and put the flag down. Like I said, if I offended anyone I apologize. That is not me. I grew up in a military background. I know what it is to respect the flag, and I apologize. It was in the heat of the moment.”

For the record: it was clear from hearing Sellers describe the incident, both before and during his speech, that he legitimately meant no offense, and his apology seemed heartfelt. Read more »

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Saturday, August 29: Marko Mitchell Contemplates The Other Parts Of His Game

Posted by Matt Terl on August 29, 2009 – 11:10 am

You might think, after two straight games with touchdown catches, that rookie WR Marko Mitchell would be happy. That he’d want to discuss his success, talk about putting himself in a great position to not only make the roster but to contribute this season, explain how his teammates have nicknamed him and accepted him and so on.

Not so much.
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Devin Thomas: "Feels Good To Get Back There"

Posted by Matt Terl on August 29, 2009 – 1:13 am

Devin Thomas
was in the locker room looking aggravated. This was not an entirely bad thing — this time, it wasn’t because of his performance in the game, which he graded out at “a solid B,” but because he was standing in an enormous pile of talcum powder.

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Fred Smoot Explains His Hand Gesture, Sort Of

Posted by Matt Terl on August 29, 2009 – 12:49 am

For as much time as I spend on this blog writing about Fred Smoot — his hypothetical reality show, his bad suit award, his jawing at Marko Mitchell and everything else — it’s easy to sometimes forget that he’s actually a pretty solid football player. He finished tonight with two tackles (and one assist) along with two passes defensed, and had more of an impact than those numbers would seem to indicate. Read more »

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