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Guess Who Got This Week's Special Teams Hit Stick

Posted by Matt Terl on November 19, 2009 – 4:44 pm

Every game the Redskins win, special teams coach Danny Smith awards a “Hit Stick” to the player who delivered the most crushing shot on special teams coverage. The stick — which is an actual carved piece of wood that Smith acquired in Jamaica — then lives with that player until the next time it’s given out, sort of like a smaller-scale, woodier Stanley Cup.

Can you guess who got the Hit Stick this week? Hint — it’s the person who said the following: “We have a Hit Stick every week that everyone’s trying to get. So guys like H.B. [Blades], me, Mike [Sellers], Chris Wilson, are always trying to make that hit. And this week happened to be my number.”

So obviously it’s not Blades, Sellers, or Wilson (although you can read an entertaining account of Wilson’s time last year with the Hit Stick over at the DC Sports Bog). Here’s another hint:


Okay, that was less a “hint” than a “video of the Hit Stick-winning play,” but whatever. Lorenzo Alexander is your Hit Stick winner this week for the hit that nearly sparked a riot at Tuesday’s charity event.

“Danny’s always preaching ‘Same foot, same shoulder, more power,'” Sellers said about the play. “Well, in Lamont Jordan’s case, that didn’t work out too well.” (Sellers claims that he “got tired of” winning the Hit Stick and leaves that stuff to guys like Alexander now.)

Rock Cartwright was also a fan of Alexander’s hit. “I watched it on film here AND I watched at home,” Cartwright said. “That was a MAMMOTH of a hit. It was crazy, because all I heard was a ‘BOOM,’ like somebody shot a gun or something. Next thing you know I see Devin [Thomas] jumping around, and I see Lamont Jordan on the ground. That was a big time hit.”
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A Surprisingly Lively Fourth And Life Event

Posted by Matt Terl on November 19, 2009 – 2:53 pm

There’s probably some kind of mathematical equation describing how the rowdiness level of room increases as you add teenage boys per square foot, but I don’t know the specific math of it. What I do know, after Tuesday’s Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation 4th & Life High School Football Forum at FedExField, is that roughly a thousand high school upperclassmen football players squeezed into a relatively confined space = a lot of rowdiness.

The 4th & Life program — sponsored by Coca-Cola, fact fans! — is, in essence, a forum for current professional football players to impress upon high school football players just how important education is, and just how ephemeral a football career can be. Tuesday, it was Lorenzo Alexander, Kevin Barnes, Malcolm Kelly, and Brian Orakpo.

They each addressed the students — who were from all over Maryland, Virginia, and the District — and then took questions in a Q&A format. Alexander, as the senior player, also served largely as the emcee of the event, but it was Kelly’s story that best exemplified the kind of message the players were trying to convey.

“I came in ballin’ during training camp [in 2008],” Kelly said. “Middle of training camp, right before preseason’s gettin’ ready to start, I’m in the starting rotation. Me, Santana Moss, and Antwaan Randle El. I go out there in practice, I was walking back from the huddle — not out there running around, not out there jumping up and landing funny; I was walking back to the huddle — I felt my knee give out, I fall to the ground.

“So just like that, it can be over. It can be done with. Luckily, I was able to rehab it and come back, and be able to fight for the number two spot or whatever. But it can be taken away, man, just like that. So you really gotta take advantage of your oppontunities.

“I never really listened to people talk about all that education stuff; I just let it go in one ear and out the other. But at the end of the day, that’s the only thing that’s guaranteed. That’s the only thing that somebody cannot take away from you, man. What you know. The knowledge in your head, nobody can ever take that away from y’all.”

And that was a message that the players successfully brought across to a rowdy, fidgety, boisterous crowd of young men, not all of whom seemed to be exactly listening. Which came to a head, when — strangely — Lorenzo Alexander was fielding questions. Read more »

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Thursday, November 19: Dallas Week On CBS, 1983

Posted by Matt Terl on November 19, 2009 – 9:17 am

In some ways, any rivalry is by definition about nostalgia. It’s about the accrual of loathing for a specific opponent over a number of years. Without that — without the memory of a few heartbreaking losses, a few dominating wins, a few extracurricular events — you don’t have a rivalry at all. You just have what the Redskins used to have with the St. Louis Cardinals when the Cardinals were in the NFC East: a team you play a lot.

So here’s a bit more Dallas Week nostalgia for you. For me, Pat Summerall will always be the TV play-by-play voice of these games. The NFL On CBS music brings back early ’80s NFC games. The vaguely greenish tint of the video reminds me of what the screen picture actually looked like in the days before HDTV.

Meaning? This is the intro to a Week 15 game between 12-2 teams who had faced off in the previous year’s Conference Championship game. Extracurriculars? The game that follows this intro would end as a 31-10 Redskins win, which would frustrate the Cowboys to the point that they broke up the then-traditional Fun Bunch end zone high five. So, yeah, this says rivalry to me as much as anything could, even if it does say nostalgia just as emphatically.

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