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Mike Shanahan On Being The Underdog

Posted by Matt Terl on October 28, 2010 – 4:53 pm

Well, four out of five CBSSports.com experts have picked the Lions to beat the Redskins, and the only one to pick the Redskins is also the one I’m least familiar with (although as I look at his website, I’m enjoying what I’m seeing of his work). Most of the time, I just note this sort of thing to rabble-rouse a little bit and not because I think any of the players or coaches are really aware of it.

But I found it interesting that head coach Mike Shanahan said yesterday that he absolutely notices when the Redskins open as underdogs to the 1-5 Lions. “That’s the way it happens,” Shanahan said. “People take records for granted, what’s happened in the past, and the people that do it for a living, they look at it in a different way.”

He also broke down the ways that the Lions’ record is misleading.
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Brian Orakpo Wants To Be A Receiver

Posted by Matt Terl on October 28, 2010 – 3:37 pm

Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett was asked today if multi-takeaway games like last week’s display at Chicago tend to lead to more multi-takeaway games. Haslett’s response could be boiled down to a simple phrase: we’ve been getting takeaways, and we think it’s important to get even more.

Here’s the unboiled version. “We’ve been getting ’em every game,” Haslett said. “It’s hard to get ’em six in a half, but we’ve been getting two, three every game. The thing that’s disappointing is we should have probably six, seven, eight, up to nine more. Because we’ve had the ball on the ground a number of times and we didn’t come up with it, we’ve probably dropped five to six interceptions. So if we come up with those, we probably would’ve had a couple more wins. So that’s disappointing.

“Now, the good thing is, guys are doing what we asked ’em to do and they understand that that’s the big thing that we tried to address in the offseason, so obviously it’s paying off.”

By sheer coincidence, Matt Mosley over at ESPN.com talked to Brian Orakpo today for a story about just how important these takeaways are to the Redskins, and just how much they were emphasized in the offseason. “Fortunately for the Skins,” Mosley writes, “new defensive coordinator Jim Haslett knew exactly why the Saints were able to flourish while giving up large chunks of yards. They finished second in the league (to the Green Bay Packers) in takeaways with 39, thus providing a blueprint for defensive coordinators around the league.”

More interesting is Orakpo’s description of some of the offseason drills, including named tackling dummies with footballs tied to them. But most interesting of all is Orakpo’s description of how he did in those drills, and how he thinks he could become a two-way player. Read more »

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Redskins Fan, Disgruntled In 2008, Feeling Much More Gruntled In 2010

Posted by Matt Terl on October 28, 2010 – 2:03 pm

In 2008, Robin Wright (not the actress) was feeling pretty frustrated with the Redskins. In this, she was not alone. But Wright took her frustration a step further than just complaining on message boards and writing furious blog posts.

“I sent a box of all my Redskins memorabilia back to Dan Snyder saying ‘I can’t take it anymore,'” Wright told me today. “I said, ‘You know, I’ve spent thirty years watching and I just can’t take it anymore.'”

Wright’s letter did not go unanswered.

“I got a letter back from Vinny Cerrato,” Wright says, “and he said he’d keep the box here and when I was ready to get it back, he’d let me have it back.”

Wright’s act of defiance drew some media attention — she specifically mentioned interviews with WJLA’s Julie Parker — and, Wright said, WJLA’s producers called her after the team installed Mike Shanahan as head coach and traded for Donovan McNabb, wanting to see how she felt about the changes.

And Wright felt pretty good — good enough to place a call to Redskins Park.
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Chris Cooley Has A Chris Cooley Robe

Posted by Matt Terl on October 28, 2010 – 12:24 pm

Chris Cooley strolled through the locker room yesterday wearing a white terrycloth robe customized to look like his jersey, right down to his name on the back. “It’s from SportRobe.com,” he said. “I have a red and a white, and they’re AWESOME.”

Cooley is not the only one who finds this robe AWESOME. The assembled media was — at worst — amused (although I was the only one amused enough to ask him about it) and Cooley’s teammates are downright envious.

“It’s fancy. It’s a pretty big deal,” Cooley said. “Everyone’s pretty jealous. I gotta call and make some orders. Kemo asks me about it every day. I can’t even look at Kemo because he asks me about it every day.”

Ma’ake Kemoeatu confirmed this. Read more »

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