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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.
Read more »

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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.
Read more »

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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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LaRon Landry Gets A Haircut

Posted by Matt Terl on October 27, 2010 – 11:25 pm

Despite all the things that are common knowledge about LaRon Landry — the fancy house, the crazy cars, the workout regimen, the brutal hits, the collared shirt, the pet monkey — he still doesn’t seem like a guy that people really know. Which makes sense: all of those factoids add up to one fascinating caricature, but they don’t really paint the picture of a dude that you’d see down at the barbershop.

Which is why this piece from NBC-4’s Dan Hellie is so terrific: it’s LaRon Landry quite literally as a dude down at his neighborhood barbershop. And it’s every bit as excellent as you’d expect.


Of course, that’s not to say that there’s not plenty of quirky weirdness in this piece as well. The 43-step high-five Landry uses to greet the guys at the barbershop, for example. Or the revelation that, in his college days, Landry used to cut his own hair as well as his teammates’.

And then there’s the rumination on last year, which was really interesting.

Read more »

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Anthony Armstrong Is More Gracious After Throwing Interceptions Than Jay Cutler Was

Posted by Matt Terl on October 27, 2010 – 3:55 pm

The Redskins teamed up with Coca-Cola yesterday and hosted a Play 60 flag football clinic at FedExField. 200 students from the D.C. Metro area got to work with Lorenzo Alexander, Anthony Armstrong, Kevin Barnes, Brandon Banks, and Ryan Torain as they prepared for and played some flag football. Everyone involved had an excellent time, as you can see in this piece from Redskins.com TV.

One of the great moments in the video is Brandon Banks discussing his size: “I’m probably the same size as some of the guys out here,” he says, and you can see at the 2:25 mark just how true that is. “I tell the guys, just go out there and believe that you can get in the NFL. Go after your dream, and if you dream to play NFL ball, just keep working real hard. You’ll make it.” It’s a message that sounds much more believable coming from the undersized Banks than it might coming from, say, an Andre Carter.

But the best part of the day didn’t make the cut in that video: Anthony Armstrong, playing flag football with the kids, was having real trouble throwing to the guys on his team. He was intercepted repeatedly throughout the day, and he discussed his multiple-pick game after it had come to a merciful end. Read more »

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Video Of The Women Of Washington’s Tracy Anderson Workout

Posted by Matt Terl on October 27, 2010 – 3:02 pm

When I wrote on Monday about the Women Of Washington preparing for the Fit For You 5K, I ran into some trouble trying to describe the Tracy Anderson Method that they were using. I mentioned some of Anderson’s celeb credentials — Shakira! Madonna! Gwyneth! — and then offered this gem to describe what the workouts looked like: “an intense combination of yoga, cheerleading, and the movie Flashdance.”

That, it could be argued, is not a very good descriptor. Fortunately, we live in an age where moving images can be captured via a “camera” and “embedded” onto these here “websites,” and Redskins.com TV has provided just such a moving image of the event. So here are Tanya Snyder, Christy Cooley, and more of WOW, along with Tracy Anderson. You be the judge of if my descriptor was terrible or just bad.

Also, don’t forget to register for the Fit For You 5K, even if you haven’t had that particular variety of training. Very few of us have. Read more »

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James Davis Signed To The Practice Squad

Posted by Matt Terl on October 27, 2010 – 1:16 pm

Yesterday afternoon, news broke that the Redskins had signed a running back by the name of Jeremiah Johnson to the practice squad. I was in the middle of wrangling my kids, so I re-tweeted Larry Weisman’s report of the news, made a note to find out more about the guy and work up a post about him, and moved on.

So, apparently, did the Redskins. Even later yesterday, the team signed James Davis — a running back who was recently released by the Browns — and released Johnson. (Johnson has now pulled ahead of Javarris James for shortest tenure on the 2010 Redskins practice squad, and it seems unlikely that his record will be broken.)

Davis starred as a running back at Clemson, where he overlapped with Buffalo Bills rookie C.J. Spiller. He’s the kind of one-cut running back who has the potential to star in Mike Shanahan’s system, and is definitely a practice squad guy to keep an eye on.

So while the folks in the equipment room were ironing DAVIS onto a nameplate this morning, Davis was sitting in the locker room in a blank 24 jersey. “I got the call probably about 7:00 or 8:00 last night,” Davis said, “and they told me they wanted me up here, so I had to fly out as soon as possible.” Read more »

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DeAngelo Hall Named NFC Defensive Player Of The Week

Posted by Matt Terl on October 27, 2010 – 10:41 am

In what will probably the least surprising news you hear this entire week, Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall has been named NFC Defensive Player Of The Week for his four interception day against the Bears Sunday. Hall is the second Redskins player — and second member of the Redskins secondary — to receive that honor this year, following LaRon Landry.

Here, via Redskins PR, are a bunch of the milestones Hall set with his day. Read more »

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Tony Romo's Collarbone, And Other Links

Posted by Matt Terl on October 26, 2010 – 4:32 pm

I’m not one to root for an injury to happen, and I’m certainly not one to cheer when a player goes down. But that doesn’t mean I can’t round up some of the online responses to Tony Romo’s fractured clavicle, and … wow, people sure don’t seem overly disappointed at this particular turn of events.

Some other, non-clavicle-related links from today…. Read more »

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