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Notes From The Mike Shanahan Presser

Posted by Matt Terl on September 27, 2010 – 5:11 pm

Just a few notes from head coach Mike Shanahan’s press conference today.

  • The majority of injury updates — Trent Williams, Anthony Armstrong, Chris Horton — will come on Wednesday.
  • Punter Josh Bidwell “wants to play in the [Eagles] game; he feels like there’s a good chance for him to play”; he’ll undergo an MRI and be evaluated Wednesday.
  • Team will bring in “a couple of guys tomorrow” to look at, presumably in case Bidwell’s evaluation goes poorly. That decision will be finalized by Friday.

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Santana Moss Would Like More Touchdowns, Please

Posted by Matt Terl on September 27, 2010 – 2:28 pm

Talking during today’s open locker room media session, Santana Moss expressed a few of the same basic ideas as LaRon Landry and London Fletcher, about working harder and finishing plays and so on and so forth. Here, for example, is how he suggests that the team recover from Sunday’s dispiriting loss:

“Just keep working,” he said. “You know, the season ain’t made in three games. It feels like some of the things that we did on the field alone so far this year have shown us that we can be a good team. I feel like on offense, we just have to finish a couple’a plays here and there. One or two mistakes less, this drive, that drive, and just clean some of the little riff-raffs up.”

But Moss went further than the other two in assigning primary responsibility for the two losses. And he didn’t blame the defense, despite their league-low rank and consecutive games with thirty points given up. Instead Moss — coming off a 6 catch, 124 yards, 1 touchdown game and sitting tied for fifth in the NFL (with Brandon Marshall) in receiving yards — put the blame squarely on his offensive unit.
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London Fletcher Says The 3-4 Is Not To Blame

Posted by Matt Terl on September 27, 2010 – 12:18 pm

London Fletcher only spoke for a minute today in open locker room. (Literally a minute, as he started talking at 11:44 and the locker room closed at 11:45 — it shows up on my recording as 1:08 long.) Not long, especially not for Fletcher, who usually holds at least one if not multiple long Q&A sessions with the media each week. But long enough for him to describe how he felt about the loss last night.

“Extremely unacceptable,” Fletcher said, looking pained. “Very … upset. Just trying to figure out what we need to do better.”

The list of things to do better was fairly fundamental. “The only thing I know is to come to practice this week,” he said, “have better preparation, focus harder, and challenge everybody else to do the same thing. Hopefully it’ll carry over on Sunday.”

One thing Fletcher does not blame, though, is the team’s switch to a 3-4 base defense, and he cautioned observers not to blame that switch either.
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LaRon Landry Hates Losing

Posted by Matt Terl on September 27, 2010 – 10:37 am

LaRon Landry doesn’t much like losing, and it’s visible in the postgame locker room. He’s not a big one for hiding his feelings, I guess. Anyhow, here was his reaction last night when 106.7 The Fan’s beat reporter Grant Paulsen asked him what happened to the defense during yesterday’s game

“They [the Rams] put points on the board,” Landry said. “They don’t score, they don’t win. That’s our job as defenders not to let ’em score. We let ’em score. We didn’t finish strong as a whole. I don’t think we finished strong as a defense.”

And the struggles in the second half, Landry said, were for the same overall reason. “Like I said, we didn’t finish, man. That’s what it’s all about. You saw it. There’s not secret to it. We didn’t finish, that’s all it is.”

But all of that’s pretty elementary, and verges on athlete-speak. Landry’s description of what he felt like … that seemed a bit more noteworthy. Read more »

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Redskins @ Rams – Fourth Quarter Reactions

Posted by Matt Terl on September 26, 2010 – 7:23 pm

This is exactly the type of loss that I was deeply hoping not to see this year: a team playing down to their opposition. What made me happiest during the second quarter — that the team rebounded from one of the ugliest first quarters I’ve ever and started asserting their will — fell apart in the rest of the game. Read more »

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Redskins @ Rams – Third Quarter Reactions

Posted by Matt Terl on September 26, 2010 – 6:35 pm

Maybe it’s something about odd-numbered quarters for the Redskins today, because the third quarter was much closer in style and substance to the first quarter than the second, albeit without the borderline catastrophic series of random events. The Redskins came out looking strong, on a long pass to Santana Moss that put them deep in Rams territory, and then … well, that was about it.

That drive stalled and resulted in just a field goal, and the offense really never made much noise for the rest of the quarter. The defense, meanwhile, let the Rams work the middle of the field steadily on a long drive, and ultimately gave up a rushing touchdown to someone named Kenneth Darby — which featured another missed tackle by Kareem Moore. Moore has looked good back in pass coverage, but not as strong against the rush, especially on the Rams’ two rushing touchdowns.

This was not particularly inspiring to watch, and the half ends with the Redskins trailing again, 21-16. It also feels like the defense has to be getting tired, because they seemed to be on the field for that entire quarter. Let’s hope the fourth quarter is to the second as the third was to the first. Because otherwise, this could be a really long flight home. Read more »

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Redskins @ Rams – Second Quarter Reactions

Posted by Matt Terl on September 26, 2010 – 5:41 pm

I’ll be honest: I’m genuinely impressed with how the Redskins rebounded from that atrocious first quarter. To extend the Madden “No Freakin’ Way Game” comparison, it’s all too easy when you run into a game like that — when it feels like the computer or the Football Gods or luck or whatever is against you — to just throw the controller across the room and slam down the power button.

The Redskins didn’t do that. More to the point, they didn’t need to wait until halftime to get themselves turned around. That’s a resilience that I’m not sure the teams of the last two years would’ve shown.

Also, an ability to score quickly that I’m not sure those teams possessed. The quarter opened with an incomplete pass. Then, in rapid succession: a field goal, a forced fumble on the kickoff return — the first forced fumble of Reed Doughty‘s career — and a Donovan McNabb to Santana Moss touchdown on the very next play. That is, according to what former Intern Ross was able to uncover, the shortest time elapsed between two Redskins scores since at least the turn of the century.

Then the defense came alive and suddenly it looked a lot more like a ball game.

Also coming alive: the running game. Coming into this game, the Redskins had 107 net yards rushing. Following that big quarter from Clinton Portis and Ryan Torain, the Redskins had racked up 115 rushing yards in a single HALF.

And, after a seemingly interminable goalline stand by the Redskins defense at the end of the quarter, Phillip Daniels came through and blocked the chip-shot field goal, the first block by the Redskins since Kedric Golston did it in December of 2007.

So, yeah, that was much more like it. Still having the computer issues, though, and the team is still trailing by one. So there’s still plenty of room to improve. Read more »

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Redskins @ Rams – First Quarter Reactions [Updated]

Posted by Matt Terl on September 26, 2010 – 4:48 pm

Well, at least that’s over with. Bill Simmons likes to write about those occasional times the computer decides there’s no way you’re winning at a game of Madden — games where everything goes wrong at once. I’ve seen it happen enough to know exactly what he’s talking about, and the first quarter of this game has looked worse than any of those that I can remember.

Let’s run down the list of misery:

  • Redskins lose the coin toss, making it clear from the start that luck is not going their way.
  • Opening kickoff goes out of bounds, giving the Rams the ball on the 40.
  • The defense gives up a fourth down conversion and a 42 yard touchdown run on the same drive.
  • The Redskins offense takes over; Santana Moss is called for a 15 yard penalty on the third play, then compounds the issue on the next play by fumbling the ball directly to the Rams’ safety.
  • The defense promptly gives up a second touchdown.
  • Two of the next four plays are penalties on the offensive line,
  • Graham Gano, punting because of a pregame injury to Josh Bidwell, has the punt blocked; Keiland Williams misses a crucial block.
  • Clinton Portis breaks what looks set to be his longest run in years, but falls down for no readily apparent reason. The drive sputters out.
  • Joey Galloway seems to be clearly interfered with on a long pass downfield by Donovan McNabb; nothing is called.
  • Oh, and my internet connection is cutting in and out, just to add a little excitement to the whole experience.

It settled down a bit after that, but — as the scoreboard clearly shows — still looks like a terrible start to this one.

UPDATE: Thanks to AP Photo, here are a few of those moments immortalized in photo form: Read more »

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Redskins @ Rams: Some Notable Names On The Inactive List [Update 2]

Posted by Matt Terl on September 26, 2010 – 2:35 pm

Well, optimism is all well and good during the week, but reality does have a way of setting in. And the reality is that some injuries just take a bit longer than a week to heal. And it looks like Trent Williams has one of those injuries. This is disappointing, but not entirely unexpected. Stephon Heyer will get the start at left tackle in place of Williams.

Also down: Anthony Armstrong, despite his confident tone all week, and Chris Horton. Looks like Devin Thomas may finally get a bit of a chance at wide receiver, which will at least offer some more evidence — one way or the other — to one of the debate this season that’s been much talked about without much data.

Anyhow, here’s the whole, grim list.

  • QB John Beck (emergency third quarterback)
  • WR Anthony Armstrong
  • DT Anthony Bryant
  • S Chris Horton
  • DE Jeremy Jarmon
  • LB Perry Riley
  • OL Will Montgomery
  • RB Chad Simpson
  • OT Trent Williams

Oh, and punter Josh Bidwell injured himself somehow during pregame warmups and had to be helped off the field. Other than that, things are all coming up Redskins today. Read more »

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Ryan Torain Signed, Brandon Banks Released

Posted by Matt Terl on September 25, 2010 – 6:10 pm

Well, a move that was rumored yesterday has been made official: the Redskins waived Brandon Banks and signed Ryan Torain from the practice squad. This addresses the seeming lack of running back depth on the heels of the release of Larry Johnson, as Torain had a successful preseason with the Redskins, and, in fact, more than a few people were surprised he wasn’t on the opening day roster.

It remains to be seen how much action Torain will get against the Rams tomorrow, but it makes me, for one, feel more comfortable in case of some kind of injury to one of the running backs in the game.

And I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the team is hoping to find a way to keep Banks around if it’s possible, so the Brandon Banks Fan Club shouldn’t give up hope just yet. Read more »

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