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Two Slightly Different Perspectives On The Redskins #4 Pick

Posted by Matt Terl on January 20, 2010 – 5:37 pm

So Mel Kiper’s first crack at the 2010 NFL draft has been published over on ESPN.com. It’s easy (and at this point somewhat fashionable) to dismiss Kiper as a blowhard hairdo who’s wrong about as often as he’s right, but here’s something to remember:

Just about a year ago at this time, Kiper released his first projection on the 2009 draft. He had the first pick (and the first QB) correct, with Matthew Stafford heading to Detroit. He flip-flopped which offensive tackle went second and which one went sixth, and completely missed at a few spots (Mark Sanchez to Kansas City stopped making any sense at all when Matt Cassel was traded).

But at thirteen, he’s got the Redskins taking one Brian Orakpo, defensive end out of Texas. So he’s maybe not so dismissable after all.

Unfortunately (because of what it implies about the season) and fortunately (for those of us who aren’t currently ESPN Insiders), we don’t need to go quite as deep into this draft to see who Kiper projects to the Redskins in 2010. (HINT: He’s the guy in the picture at the top of this post.)

Here’s Kiper’s top five at the moment: Read more »

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Kyle Shanahan On Joining The Redskins Coaching Staff

Posted by Matt Terl on January 20, 2010 – 3:15 pm

(In case you missed it, more information about the other two coaches announced as part of the Redskins staff today can be found here.)

Kyle Shanahan got his start on a Bruce Allen-managed team, joining Jon Gruden’s staff in Tampa straight from being a graduate assistant at UCLA — “In my opinion you don’t get any better than Jon Gruden,” Kyle’s father (and new Redskins head coach) Mike said during his introductory press conference two weeks ago. “The X’s and O’s, his enthusiasm and his leadership, and to be with a guy like Bruce [Allen], what a great opportunity for my son.”

Kyle Shanahan is coming off a hugely successful year as offensive coordinator for the Houston Texans, where quarterback Matt Schaub led the NFL with 4,770 yards and was fifth with 29 passing touchdowns. (Not coincidentally, Texans receiver Andre Johnson finished first in receiving yardage in the NFL with 1,569 yards. Also not coincidentally, I finished second overall in the fantasy league where I started both of them.)

And Kyle Shanahan has also always wanted to work with his father. So it came as less than a shock when Coach Shanahan mentioned that Coach Shanahan would be joining his staff.

“I am excited,” the older Coach Shanahan said, “because I know what he brings to the table. I’ve obviously watched him grow as a person and as a man and he loves football. He’s been around it throughout his career. Just like Bruce [Allen], he’s been around football with a Hall of Fame dad. You just kind of know, he’s got a lot of confidence and [I’m] very proud of his stats over the last couple of years. I know they would’ve liked to have been in the playoffs but I am looking forward to having him on our staff. I think he’ll bring a lot to our football team.”

The younger Coach Shanahan, meanwhile, was interviewed by HoustonTexans.com back on the occasion of his departure.


You might think that it was a no-brainer for Kyle Shanahan to coach with his successful father, but as he explains in that video, the exact opposite was initially the case. Read more »

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Redskins Add Three More Coaches

Posted by Matt Terl on January 20, 2010 – 2:30 pm

The 2010 Redskins coaching staff is really starting to take shape now, as the team today named Kyle Shanahan offensive coordinator, Matt LaFleur quarterbacks coach and Jon Embree tight ends coach.

Shanahan — son of head coach Mike Shanahan — has long been reported for this position, and I’ll have a little more on him in just a bit. But the other two names were newer to me.

Matt LaFleur, as near as I can tell, must have become Kyle Shanahan’s right-hand man somewhere along the line. As an offensive assistant in Houston last season, LaFleur (pictured to the right with John David Booty) worked with the quarterbacks while Shanahan ran the offense; the year prior LaFleur worked with the wide receivers.

So all the gaudy numbers that are attached to Kyle Shanahan and the Houston offense — first in the NFL in passing with 4,654 yards! fourth in total offense with 6,129 yards! — have to reflect at least a little bit on LaFleur as well.

Which is pretty impressive for a guy who came to the NFL from Division II Ashland University. LaFleur described the transition in a December 2009 profile in the Saginaw (Michigan) News:

“Honestly, it was pretty overwhelming at first,” he said of coaching in the NFL. “It’s exposed me to a level of football I’d never seen before.

“When you go from Division II to the NFL, you’re amazed at how good these guys really are.”

Despite the aw-shucks tone of those quotes, the rest of the article — and LaFleur’s swift rise through the coaching ranks — paints him as a guy to keep an eye on.

There’s not a lot out there about new tight ends coach Jon Embree, but what there is seems promising.

Read more »

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NFL Offers FAQ On The Uncapped Year

Posted by Matt Terl on January 20, 2010 – 12:34 pm

The two guys in the picture above have a lot at stake with the current negotiations around the collective bargaining agreement (CBA), which is currently scheduled to expire in March of 2011. Assuming nothing changes, Jason Campbell and Carlos Rogers are both slated to be restricted free agents this offseason, rather than unrestricted free agents as they otherwise would have expected.

We know that, and I think most fans pretty much understand that that’s the result. But the NFL today sent out a Q&A to help explain some of the other details of the uncapped 2010 year — the “Final League Year” of the current CBA — and I found it helpful enough to offer here without comment or further elaboration, at least for the moment.

If nothing else, it helps to make sure we’re all on the same page as far as what this uncapped year means and what it doesn’t. The Q&A is after the jump; if you have any questions about it, ask in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer. Read more »

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NFL Fans Give Generously To Haiti

Posted by Matt Terl on January 20, 2010 – 11:15 am

I’ve mentioned the Redskins’ contributions to relief efforts in Haiti before — Ken Harvey and a group from Diageo flying in on Daniel Snyder’s jet — and you can read more about that in a harrowing Washington Post story today.

But it’s not just the famous and the wealthy that are contributing. According to a story in today’s New York Times (via Shutdown Corner), the NFL’s fans and viewers are helping as well. At a frankly astounding rate.

The National Football League’s promotion of text-message donations during its weekend playoff games produced stunning results, with money “coming in at the rate of $500,000 an hour,” said Roger Lowe, a Red Cross spokesman.

“I need a better word than ‘unprecedented’ or ‘amazing’ to describe what’s happened with the text-message program,” Mr. Lowe said.

There’s not much to add to that, really, except a reminder that the situation in Haiti is far from stabilized. Aftershocks continue, tremendous need remains, and donations are still being accepted at the Red Cross, the Bridge Foundation, and plenty of other places.

The AP photo above is of U.S. Air Force planes airdropping humanitarian aid into Port Au Prince. Read more »

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Wednesday, January 20: High Definition Comes To FedExField

Posted by Matt Terl on January 20, 2010 – 10:00 am

Many of the most popular complaints about the gameday experience at FedExField surround the video presentation of the game. The Jumbotron is low quality. There aren’t enough out of town scores or stat updates from other games. Not enough replays. (If you’re not familiar with the litany, listen to Steve Czaban on ESPN980 for a bit.)

For the 2010 season, a lot of those complaints should go away: the team is installing two state of the art HD LED video boards, one in each end zone. The video boards will each be approximately 100 feet wide and 30 feet high; that’s a few feet larger in each direction than the video boards in Philly, and taller than the boards in Baltimore, and I can tell you from experience that both of those places offer an excellent in-game video presentation.

That’s just an artist’s rendering to give you a sense of scale on the project (click on the image for a really large version) because … well, because the thing hasn’t been built yet, frankly. But it will be in place for the 2010 season, there will still be no increase in general admission ticket prices, and the in-game experience at FedExField will be exponentially better than it has been, right off the bat.

“It’s all about the fans’ ability to interact both with and within the game,” said team owner Daniel M. Snyder. “We want everyone to be able to get the full impact of the competition on the field. These boards will enhance the experience of every fan in the stadium.”

Gary Fitzgerald has more details over at Redskins.com, including quotes from chief operating officer Dave Donovan and more photos of what the boards are expected to look like. After the jump here, a video demonstration of roughly what we can all expect to see next year. Read more »

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