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Devin Thomas Helps to Close Down Vibe Magazine

Posted by Matt Terl on August 3, 2009 – 7:18 pm

The final issue of Vibe Magazine hits newsstands this month, and Devin Thomas is featured in a couple of pictures in a spread pairing NFLers with female R&B stars. Here’s one of Thomas and his back tattoo, minus any female R&B stars.

More in the magazine, or over at TheYBF.com. Read more »

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Afternoon Practice – Coach Fred Smoot?

Posted by Matt Terl on August 3, 2009 – 5:50 pm

Things finally seemed to come together for the offense a little bit during this afternoon’s practice. Jason Campbell was getting rid of the ball quicker, the receivers were mostly doing a great job hauling it in, and everything just looked a little crisper on the offensive side of things.

Of course that means that the defense was — by definition — looking less effective. (Or, as someone observed to me yesterday, “When DeAngelo Hall intercepts the ball in practice and the crowd goes nuts, does that mean that they’re excited Jason Campbell threw a pick?”) But there’s a lot more leeway for the defense to look a little less effective — and, of course, Albert Haynesworth was held out of today’s practice.

The question of this training camp thus far has been “Is the defense that good, or is the offense struggling?” It’s starting to look more and more like the defense might just be that good.

Also out again were Anthony Montgomery (sore knee), Carlos Rogers (calf), and Roydell Williams, who had surgery on his fractured pinkie.

Like yesterday, Campbell’s best pass of the day was a 50-plus yard bomb that hit his receiver in the hands. Like yesterday, his receiver — Antwaan Randle El this time — dropped it.

But the most interesting thing I saw in practice today was Fred Smoot, still acting as a sort of de facto cornerbacks coach on the sideline. Five days into training camp and we’ve hardly heard from Smoot at all, which has to be some kind of a record.

I caught up with Smoot to get his thoughts on the defensive backfield and his new role, but I had to start by asking why he’d been so quiet.

Read more »

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Keith Eloi And The Enormous Stuffed Bear

Posted by Matt Terl on August 3, 2009 – 1:27 pm

Keith Eloi
has to know that getting to the NFL is a longshot. Undrafted out of the University of Nebraska-Omaha (UNO!), Eloi caught peoples’ attention in two ways. Most visibly by jumping into the back of a truck on YouTube, and most importantly by performing well during his tryout with the Redskins. The former earned him a feature in the Washington Post and an interview on ESPN First Take, and the latter earned him a contract and a chance to compete for a spot on an NFL roster.

Since then, he’s worked out and conditioned himself to improve his chances during training camp, and he’s jumped backwards out of a pool on YouTube. (I asked him about that second video, incidentally, and he assures me that it’s completely real. “I wouldn’t know how to fake it even if I wanted to,” he told me.) And that same combination of on-field work and lively-but-inoffensive off-field antics makes a lot of sense for a guy in Eloi’s position.

There’s a perception in the NFL, rightly or wrongly, that once you pick up the label of “practice squad guy” or “journeyman,” that’s who you are no matter how well you perform. (I’ve talked about this with wide receivers coach Stan Hixon and WR Marques Hagans in the past.) I don’t think it’s overly cynical of me to suspect that Eloi — a charismatic, engaging, smart guy — is aware of this labeling process, and is trying to do more than usual to make himself memorable. Nothing wrong with that.

Anyhow, after each practice during training camp, there’s a vaguely-defined period of time when players make themselves available for interviews. All the media members hustle around just outside the facility doors trying to make sure they intercept the guys they need before they get inside — there’s no open locker room during training camp, and media is not allowed in the building.

Read more »

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Monday, August 3: Redskins Tattoo Guy Faces A Dilemma

Posted by Matt Terl on August 3, 2009 – 10:22 am

No morning practice today. The players — those who don’t require injury treatment, at least — are being allowed to sleep in. Breakfast is optional, which probably sounds normal but isn’t; most meals are mandatory during training camp, and attendance is strictly monitored. This is the first lull in the training camp regimen, and the building is relatively quiet as a result.

And, of course, there’s no open practice today, so there are no fans at the Park, which is a change. There’ve been plenty of them here the last few days, though, with daily estimates ranging from 1,000 up to 5,000. And one of those fans is facing something of a dilemma.

That arm belongs to Kevin McCarthy, Jr. He signs his emails as ” .hmmessage P { margin:0px; padding:0px } body.hmmessage { font-size: 10pt; font-family:Verdana } the Biggest Redskin Fan In History on youtube.com.” The Gazette chain of Maryland community newspapers calls him borderline obsessed. And Dan Steinberg at the DC Sports Bog calls him Redskins Tattoo Guy.

The reason for Steinberg’s choice of nickname are obvious as soon as you meet McCarthy, and doubly so if he’s got his shirt off: he’s covered in Redskins tattoos. A ring of Lombardi Trophies encircles his bicep; underneath them are the initials and autographs of the Redskins’ three Super Bowl MVPs.

It’s his back that’s his crowning glory, an enormous list of all of the Redskins Hall of Famers, including jersey number, position, name, nickname if applicable, and year inducted. The whole thing looks kind of like a gigantic plaque in burgundy ink covering the whole of McCarthy’s back.

But there’s a problem. Read more »

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