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The Somewhat Unexpected Return Of Anthony Alridge

Posted by Matt Terl on September 22, 2009 – 8:30 pm

With guard Randy Thomas going on injured reserve, conventional wisdom had the Redskins filling his spot with another offensive lineman, whether it was one elevated from the practice squad, or one — such as Pete Kendall — signed from the street.

Meanwhile, one of the lessons learned — or, more accurately, confirmed — from the first two games is that, as John Keim of the Washington Examiner puts it, “The Redskins desperately needed to add a change-of-pace back in the offseason.”

Consider that desperate need addressed. The team has filled Thomas’s roster spot by signing Anthony Alridge, the speedster who spent the offseason with the Redskins after spending last year on injured reserve with Denver.
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Robert Henson Interacts With The Public In A Much Better Way

Posted by Matt Terl on September 22, 2009 – 4:44 pm

Rookie linebacker Robert Henson made the front page of the newpaper today, and it wasn’t a good thing. As most people have probably heard, Henson was shaken by the negative reaction of the crowd at Sunday’s game and expressed his disapproval very publicly via Twitter, which then got more public when the mainstream media picked it up. I’m not going to go over the whole story here; the front page story on the Washington Post describes all the lurid details, and you can read it there if that’s what you’re looking for.

That whole incident took me completely by surprise, and not just for the obvious reason that you don’t expect a football player to berate the fans. Here’s the thing: when the rookies came in this year, Henson came across as a level-headed guy who was extremely grateful for the opportunity he had received, and the more I found out about him, the more I felt like that initial impression was confirmed.

Lest you think this is just me backing up someone who’s part of the organization, the guys over at Hogs Haven — as talented and independent of bloggers as you could hope to find — managed to somehow arrange a dinner with Henson and his family, and came away with pretty much the same impression.

What didn’t surprise me was that Henson apologized for the incident; anyone would’ve, of course, but talking to him, I thought he seemed legitimately contrite.

And, through a mostly fortunate quirk of timing, Henson got a chance today to reach out to the public in a different, MUCH more constructive way, leading more than 40 burn survivors on a tour of FedExField.

Let me jump the obvious, cynical response first: this is not, repeat NOT, an opportunistic headline grab. “I don’t want people to think I threw this together last minute,” Henson told me. “We set it up probably about a month ago; it’s a foundation that I feel is very close to my personal experiences as a child.”
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Tuesday, September 22: Some Morning Links, Including Validation For Jim Zorn

Posted by Matt Terl on September 22, 2009 – 10:07 am

My schedule is bizarre today, bouncing across the entire DMV from event to event, so here are some things to keep you occupied while I sit in traffic.

Advanced NFL Stats is the sort of site where the writers are prone to using pithy phrases like

The net WP for the FG attempt is:

(0.84)(0.76) + (1-0.84)(0.56) = 0.73

For a 4th and 1 between the 10 and 20 yd lines, conversion attempts are successful 74% of the time

And where the first person who comments is less likely to say “F1RST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11111111111!!!!!!!!!!” and more likely to say

Great points. The general public is so caught up in binary outcomes that they don’t realize that it is in the best interest of coaches to maximize expected logarithmic utility as the only way to consistently win championships and build dynasties.

But both of those excerpts are made much more comprehensible in context, and — more notably — they come come from a piece that confirms Coach Zorn’s decision to go for it on both fourth down plays. Read more »

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