Coming Up
  • Thu., Sep. 21, 2017 2:30 PM - 3:30 PM EDT Live Jay Gruden, Greg Manusky At The Podium Tune in to hear Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruiden and defensive coordinator Greg Manusky talk at the Inova Sports Performance Center at Redskins Park in Loudoun County, Va.
  • Fri., Sep. 22, 2017 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM EDT Live Jay Gruden, Matt Cavanaugh At The Podium Tune in to hear Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruden and offensive coordinator Matt Cavanaugh talk at the Inova Sports Performance Center at Redskins Park in Loudoun County, Va.
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Brian Orakpo Offers Fashion Tips In Hail!

Posted by Matt Terl on May 28, 2010 – 10:26 am

Brian Orakpo is the unofficial Redskins Blog fashion consultant. Whether you want someone to model a $17,000 Bulgari watch while standing ankle-deep in a rooftop pool or to demonstrate the etiquette of carrying an umbrella while in full football uniform, he’s your guy. It carries over to onfield fashion as well, as he’s more than happy to explain the proper way to use a shirt-sleeve as under-helmet headwear.

So it’s appropriate that Ben Ceccarelli introduces cartoon Orakpo in much the same role in this week’s installment of Hail! the Comic Strip.

As always, click on this first panel (or on the Read More link) to see the rest of the strip. Enjoy!

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Mike Shanahan Updates A Few Past Blog Posts

Posted by Matt Terl on May 27, 2010 – 12:10 pm

I’m not saying that head coach Mike Shanahan was DELIBERATELY tailoring his post-OTA comments yesterday to things I’ve written about on the blog, but I think the evidence pretty clearly speaks for itself.

On Brandon Banks, who I wrote about here:

SHANAHAN: “I think he’s done a good job. He’s been an excellent returner, obviously not very big but very fast. We ran him in the forty and he broke 4.4 out here on this turf when the rookies ran. And he’s catching the ball extremely well as a wide receiver. So he’s competing right now and we’ll let time take care of itself. When he gets his opportunity in these preseason games, he’ll show us what he can do.”
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Jim Haslett Is Fond Of Lorenzo Alexander

Posted by Matt Terl on May 26, 2010 – 4:50 pm

When I first asked Lorenzo Alexander about his shift to linebacker in the 2010 Redskins hybrid defense, he was matter-of-fact about the switch. “Just another job for the One Man Gang to do and learn,” he told me. “It should be fun.”

To my untrained eye, he’s looked solid making the switch, and he seems comfortable with it in his laid-back way. “It’s been coming pretty good,” he told me today. “Been learning the defense — that’s comin’ along real well — and I’m starting to feel more comfortable out in space. That’s the biggest thing. Most of the time we’re rushing, and that’s just like playing defensive end, but when you get out there having to read the routes and knowing who you’re passing off to and what your responsibilities are, that’s when it gets a little complicated.”

The one time I specifically noticed him in coverage, he was covering Chris Cooley downfield yesterday. When the pass went to Cooley, Alexander was just slightly out of position but managed to jump and get an entire hand firmly on the ball — which then bounced off and into Cooley’s arms. Alexander was furious about this — he’s not nearly as laid-back when he’s on the field.

“I was guarding Cooley,” Alexander explained, “and it ended up being man-to-man. He ran a 7 route, and I’m turning to look, and — I mean, when you’re looking for the ball you assume it’s being thrown to you, but he’s not throwing it to me. He’s throwing it to Cooley. So I kinda panicked a little bit and didn’t play it that well and got just my hand on it when I should’ve probably picked it off.”

Still, I suggested, you’ve been a linebacker for all of twenty minutes and you were downfield against a Pro Bowl tight end. Surely getting a hand on the ball is pretty good?

“I’m competitive,” Alexander said, shrugging. “It don’t matter where you’re at, whether you’re a Pro Bowler or a rookie. But it’s getting better, and I’m glad I’m gettin’ all those reps playing against a guy like a Cooley or a Donovan McNabb, who’s putting those balls in great places. When I get in the game, it’ll be that much easier for me.”

So that’s Alexander’s cautiously optimistic take on where he is. His new defensive coordinator, on the other hand, is not quite so measured.
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Chris Cooley Tries His Hand As A Holder

Posted by Matt Terl on May 26, 2010 – 3:18 pm

Two days ago, I devoted 700 words to punter Josh Bidwell‘s trials learning to hold for a left-footed kicker. Today, Bidwell was absent from practice (with his coach’s permission). Now, I’m not saying those two things are connected, but whatever the reason the fact remains: the team was forced to try out some backup holders today. Much of the holding was done by whichever kicker wasn’t kicking, but head coach Mike Shanahan and special teams coach Danny Smith also explored having a Pro Bowler holding for kicks:

Chris Cooley.

“It’s probably the first time I’ve ever been around Chris where he looked a little nervous,” Shanahan said. “Y’know, something he wasn’t comfortable with. I’m not sure if he’s ever done it before. But Chris has got excellent hands; we wanted to take a look in our OTAs, see if he could handle the ball, obviously, as a holder, and I thought he did a good job.”

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Mike Shanahan Addresses The Santana Moss Issue

Posted by Matt Terl on May 26, 2010 – 1:43 pm

There was some hope that Santana Moss would address the media today to discuss his name being linked to Canadian doctor Anthony Galea, who has been charged with smuggling human growth hormone into the United States. Moss elected not to field any non-football questions, but Moss’s teammates said that he had spoken to them about the situation, and Moss himself acknowledged that he had discussed it with his head coach.

And the head coach turned out to be more than willing to speak up on his behalf. Read more »

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Another Sign Of The New Tempo At OTAs

Posted by Matt Terl on May 26, 2010 – 10:33 am

Tempo: it’s something that’s been mentioned a lot at the minicamps and OTAs under the new Redskins coaching staff, but I’ve had a hard time finding something specific to point at as a concrete indicator of the new tempo. The best I’ve come up with is the drill that starts off every defensive practice: the eleven guys on the defense take the field in their positions, get set, and then sprint to a corner of the endzone. Then the next eleven guys line up and do the same thing, and so on until everyone’s done it.

And I do mean sprint. This is, I think, the fastest I’ve seen players run during practice in the time I’ve been watching. It’s certainly the fastest when there was no one-on-one competition involved.

So yesterday I asked Carlos Rogers if he could explain the thinking behind the drill, and what it says about the philosophies of the new coaching staff. Read more »

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Brandon Banks Can Jump As Well As Run

Posted by Matt Terl on May 25, 2010 – 4:21 pm

Both times I’ve written about Redskins undrafted rookie Brandon Banks, I’ve focused on how undersized he is. And I’m not the first. Banks is listed at 5’7″, 150 pounds — and possibly exaggerated in both categories — so it’s been something that he’s been judged by for much of his life.

So of course when I had a chance to talk to him today, after a solid OTA that included the leaping catch pictured above (click the photo to see a larger version), the first question I asked him was if he would be able to crack a pro roster despite concerns about his size. Read more »

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Another Post Kedric Golston Did Not Approve Of

Posted by Matt Terl on May 25, 2010 – 3:23 pm

Today’s picture of a rookie carrying helmets wasn’t the first thing I’ve done this year that Kedric Golston didn’t approve of. Back when I posted about Mike Sellers trying on Ma’ake Kemoeatu‘s helmet, Golston took issue with that as well.

“You don’t even know the guy,” he told me. “You can’t just write stuff like that without having met someone.” This came after a number of people in the building had mentioned that Kemoeatu had been asking about who wrote the blog.

So I went to Kemo and owned up. I apologized, explained that I have an enormous skull, that my kid has a head that measures in the 95th percentile, that I didn’t mean any offense, so on and so forth for what felt like an hour. Eventually, he stopped being able to keep a straight face, told me it was fine, and that was that.

Still, Golston was still insisting that I had been out of line, even interrupting group media sessions to mention the topic. I, of course, felt guilty about all of this, until Casey Rabach pulled me aside and told me a story about Kemoeatu’s rookie year, when both had been in Baltimore. Read more »

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Kedric Golston Does Not Approve Of This Blog Post

Posted by Matt Terl on May 25, 2010 – 1:07 pm

The guy in the foreground of this picture is Trey Jacobs, an undrafted defensive tackle out of Liberty who was notable in the run-up to the draft for having an “outstanding” pro day. He was a standout at his small school, albeit one who was knocked at times for not being quite mean enough. He’s scrambling to earn himself a spot at a very crowded position with the Redskins, and I really haven’t had a chance to get to know him yet at all, but this profile on the website of his college NBC affiliate makes him sound like a good dude.

Though he’s 6-foot-3 and 280 pounds, Jacobs comes across as a fairly soft-spoken guy, one who spends his free time away from football reading books and refining his culinary skills. So he had to do something to change that demeanor on the field. He continued to watch [teammate Terry] Adams, who is one of the Flames’ most feisty competitors. In the season opener at West Virginia, Adams lit up a Mountaineers player on a kickoff return and responded by screaming while running alongside the WVU bench.

“I use him as an example, and base my playing style off him,” Jacobs said.

This is Jacobs after practice, as you can see, carrying a lot of helmets. I assumed that this was part of rookie non-hazing (also known as “hazing”) and stopped to snap a quick picture of it with my iPhone. Jacobs’ fellow defensive lineman Kedric Golston, walking just behind, took some issue with this. Read more »

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Josh Bidwell Has To Become Ambidextrous

Posted by Matt Terl on May 24, 2010 – 3:34 pm

The Redskins have two candidates in place for a likely training camp kicker competition (which is always a good time). The incumbent, relatively speaking, is Graham Gano, who kicked 4 field goals in 4 attempts in 4 games with the team last year. Gano is an athlete, a gym rat, and a scotsman.

The challenger is Justin Medlock, signed back in February, and the subject of an in-depth profile by Dan Steinberg a few weeks ago. But one thing that’s not mentioned in the Steinberg profile is that Medlock kicks left-footed. This isn’t a huge problem for Medlock, who has been a successful left-footed kicker his entire life, but it’s presenting something of a hurdle to new punter — and presumptive holder — Josh Bidwell.

“I’ve been holding for fifteen years,” Bidwell says, “through college, high school, and the pros, but I never had to hold for a left-footed guy. It’s coming along, though. It’s definitely awkward and unnatural, but like with everything else, the reps clear everything out for you.”

Awkward and unnatural doesn’t exactly sound encouraging, but Medlock — one of those optimistic West Coast types — claims to be less concerned. Read more »

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