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Remembering Sean Taylor By Way Of Brett Favre

Posted by Matt Terl on November 27, 2010 – 7:00 am

Somewhat unbelievably, today marks three years since Redskins safety Sean Taylor died, and his friends on the Redskins still keep him in mind. Many still wear memorial T-shirts and hats, and all the ones who were here in 2007 remember him.

“You think about it,” Santana Moss said this week. “You think about it. But, you know, over the years, you try to let it go. You don’t wanna … you know, it’s hard to let go, but you just try to keep going. But you think about it.”

When Clinton Portis, a close friend of Taylor’s, was asked about the anniversary on a radio appearance earlier in the week, he reflected on some off-the-field memories of Taylor (which The Examiner’s John Keim has transcribed here), but also noted, “You still hear the stories of something he done that was amazing. Maybe it’s an overthrown ball or a ball thrown downfield and it’s like, ‘Sean would have done this or Sean would have done that.'”

With Brett Favre leading the Vikings to town tomorrow, it seemed like looking back at one of those “somethings he done that was amazing” would be the right thing to do. Because, while Taylor didn’t have the chance to rack up the defensive records that Redskins fans believe he might’ve been able to earn, he will always be in the record books for at least one thing:

On October 14, 2007, Taylor was on the receiving end of Brett Favre’s 278th interception — the ball that put Favre ahead of George Blanda and cemented what the Associated Press referred to as a “dubious record”. The Redskins ultimately lost the game, but it wasn’t through any shortage of effort on Taylor’s part. He also locked up Favre’s 279th interception and forced a fumble for good measure.

So this year, instead of a more general Sean Taylor tribute — here is a compilation of some of those, if that’s what you’re looking for — here, courtesy of the fine folks at Redskins.com TV, are Taylor’s highlights of that game against Brett Favre, including the two interceptions. And, man, he was a fun player to watch.

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Jim Haslett Is Not Underestimating Brett Favre Or The Vikings

Posted by Matt Terl on November 26, 2010 – 1:53 pm

As noted earlier this week, Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett has seen a version of this movie before, from the other side — and it went well for him when he did. Haslett, of course, coached his first game as interim head coach of the St. Louis Rams in FedExField back in 2008, and beat Jim Zorn’s Redskins in a fluky, frustrating game. So he knows the emotional boost an interim coach can provide, as the Vikings come to town having just installed Leslie Frazier as interim head man.

“When you have a streak of losing games,” Haslett said today, “obviously the players — it’s like, after three games it’s like they’re gonna revolt if you lose three in a row. So you’ve gotta kinda keep their spirits up. And knowing Leslie the way I know him, he’ll bring high energy into the group, and players’ll play for him because it’s just a newfound energy. It’s a different guy talking, with his own values, his own beliefs, and that team’ll come in ready to play.”

But the coaching change isn’t the only reason Haslett is warning his defensive players about the Vikings. Read more »

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Happy Thanksgiving From Hail!

Posted by Matt Terl on November 26, 2010 – 10:06 am

Happy day-after-Thanksgiving from Hail! writer/artist Ben Ceccarelli! (And me, I suppose.)

As always, click this first panel or the Read More link for the rest of the strip.

Read more »

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Mike Shanahan’s Thanksgiving Plans (And Quick Injury Update)

Posted by Matt Terl on November 25, 2010 – 12:48 pm

The Redskins practiced early today to let the players, coaches, and (I guess) bloggers get home and enjoy some turkey with their families. Head coach Mike Shanahan addressed the media after practice and confirmed that LaRon Landry and Ryan Torain — both already considered longshots for Sunday — will be out for the game against the Vikings. The rest of the long list of injured players will likely be gametime decisions.

Shanahan also explained his plans for Thanksgiving: “We’ll get a chance to enjoy Thanksgiving,” he assured reporters. “We started early today, so we’ve got a little extra time. What we’ll try to do is look at film today and get ready for tomorrow’s practice, ’cause you’ve gotta go through the scripts and make all those things up, but we’ll get out of here earlier and get a chance to spend some time with some family, so that’ll be great.”

Hopefully your Thanksgiving will include plenty of time with family and not as much time reviewing film and going through scripts for tomorrow’s practice, but please enjoy it whatever it is.

In the spirit of the day, here’s the Redskins.com TV piece on Donovan McNabb‘s turkey giveaway at Martha’s Table in D.C. on Tuesday.

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Macho Harris Finally Gets To D.C.

Posted by Matt Terl on November 25, 2010 – 10:29 am

DeAngelo Hall is not responsible for the Redskins’ signing of safety Macho Harris. Hall made that very clear yesterday. “I let those guys in the front office kinda do what they do,” Hall said.

But that’s not to say that Hall didn’t think the Virginia Tech product deserved to be here, after being released by the Eagles at the start of this season. “It was surprising to me that a guy that started 12 games in this league didn’t have a job,” Hall said. (It’s actually eight starts, not twelve, but the point remains.) “So, the whole time he was getting workouts and going to different teams, I was always talking to him. You know, trying to tell him to stay positive, stay positive.”

That positive attitude was rewarded — this signing puts Harris where he says he’s always wanted to play.

“After my career in college, I was kinda hoping I’d come here,” Harris said, “close to home. Especially with the support of Hokie Nation and being close to home, so my family would be around and stuff like that. It’s a great fit.”

His reaction when he got the call from the Redskins reflected that long-term interest. “After they said they wanted to sign me, I just had tears of joy,” Harris explained. “I went back to the room, thanked God. Because this is definitely a dream come true and, like I said, days before this I was just, like, lost. Like when am I gonna get back in the league or, you know, I’m gonna have to do this another way or something like that.”

It’s not the first time Harris has tried to make his way to Washington, according to Hall. “I remember draft day, him calling me trying to get me to talk to the old staff, trying to get drafted here last year,” Hall recounted. “So this is definitely a place he wanted to be. Even when he got drafted to Philly, he was like, ‘Man, I wanted to come to Washington!’ I’m like, ‘Man, it don’t work like that in this league. This ain’t college where you can kinda pick and choose where you want to go.’ So, like I said, he’s excited to be here.”

The big story on Harris, though, is that he’s been playing a little flag football in Fairfax County during his weeks off. (Dan Steinberg has run down most of the details on this, and it’s not nearly as goofy as it sounds on the surface.) So Harris was asked about that as well; here’s his version of his days with the Novocaine squad in the Fairfax County Flag Football League: Read more »

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Clinton Portis Headed To IR (And Other Running Back Moves)

Posted by Matt Terl on November 24, 2010 – 2:31 pm

Bad news by any measure: head coach Mike Shanahan confirmed today that Clinton Portis is headed to the Injured Reserve list, ending his season early for the second year in a row. Portis finishes with just 54 carries for 227 yards in five games this year — all numbers that would’ve been two solid games in his heyday (although if you ignore the 54 carries, those numbers could’ve been in one game during his early years). He looked strong in his brief return at Tennessee last week, averaging 6.4 yards per carry, but that’s where his 2010 run will end.

“It really is disappointing,” Shanahan explained, “because he’s worked so hard to get to where he was at, a lot of hard work. He’s encouraging all the other players. He’s a big part of this football team. You hate to see a person work that hard and not get an opportunity to finish the season. That’s the case there. He was ready to play and when he did play, he played exceptionally well. Right above the groin area, he tore in the lower abdomen. He’s going to have surgery in that area. It’ll take some time to get that well.”

And that sounds excruciating. The folks at venerable D.C. sports blog Mister Irrelevant — who are among Portis’ biggest fans — are preparing themselves for the possibility that this is the end of his time in Washington by looking back at some of the bloggiest images from Portis’ tenure in D.C. You should check them all out, but this one is unquestionably my favorite:
Read more »

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DeAngelo Hall Gets Ready For His Cousin

Posted by Matt Terl on November 24, 2010 – 12:59 pm

DeAngelo Hall had an excellent game on Sunday, and was one of the primary reasons that Randy Moss was held without a catch in the game. Things don’t get any easier for Hall this weekend as the Vikings come to town with Sidney Rice expected to return to full game action and speedster Percy Harvin entering the game with 1,450 total offensive and special teams yards.

And so, of course, Hall was asked today about covering those two guys, and his response put special emphasis on Harvin. “We’re gonna have to know where Percy is,” Hall said. “Percy’s more of a guy who, once he gets the ball in his hands, the run after the catch is amazing. He’s a running back, basically. He’s fast, big — bigger than you think he is.”

I knew all of that about Harvin, of course, and I also knew that Harvin is from Virginia Beach — like Hall and so many others, a product of that Hampton Roads area. (757!) What I didn’t know, until Comcast SportsNet’s Kelli Johnson asked about it, was that Harvin and Hall are actually cousins — and not just in the colloquial sense. Read more »

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Brett Favre’s First Interception

Posted by Matt Terl on November 24, 2010 – 10:01 am

It was pointed out to me yesterday that my referring to the Vikings as “flailing” or “imploding” or “floundering” might operate as some kind of a jinx on the Redskins. So, as I prepare to write some more about Brett Favre chucking interceptions like it’s his mission in life, let me take a second to point out that this Vikings team is coming off a hugely successful year. In 2009, Favre had the kind of year that helped make him a household name — 4,202 yards, 33 touchdowns, 7 interceptions — and he led the Vikings to overtime of the NFC Championship Game.

Of course, he also pretty much singlehandedly LOST that NFC title game by throwing an atrocious across-his-body interception in the fourth quarter that ensured that the Vikings couldn’t win in regulation; Minnesota never touched the ball in overtime. So even a truly great season for Brett Favre ended on a game in which he threw two interceptions — appropriate, since his first regular season NFL action came in a game in which he went 0-for-4 with, yes, two interceptions in garbage time duty.

Favre’s team at the time was the Atlanta Falcons, and the 1991 Washington Redskins were the team that was beating the Falcons badly enough to get the rookie into the game. Favre’s first NFL pass, in fact, went to Redskins linebacker Andre Collins, who took it back for the final touchdown of a 56 point day for the Redskins. The play didn’t get all that much attention at the time — it was the last score in a huge blowout, and Favre was several years, one Farrelly Brothers movie, and one trade away from becoming the beloved gunslinger and the Nation’s Quarterback — but it turns up by sheer coincidence in the introduction to “March To Minneapolis,” the Redskins’ 1991 yearbook.

So here it is: Brett Favre’s first NFL pass, first NFL interception, and first NFL pick-six, all in one:

Here’s what Richard Justice wrote about the play for a sidebar in the following day’s Washington Post, including Andre Collins’ description of what happened. (Yes, Brett Favre’s first NFL interception rated just a sidebar.)
Read more »

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A Few Redskins Thanksgiving Food Thoughts

Posted by Matt Terl on November 24, 2010 – 9:18 am

Two years ago around Thanksgiving, I gave the somewhat comprehensive breakdown of which Redskins fry their Thanksgiving turkeys and which ones roast them. Last year I gave an even-closer-to-comprehensive breakdown of which Redskins players prefer which Thanksgiving side dishes. I wasn’t quite sure where to go this year, and had given some thought to abandoning Thanksgiving food entirely as a topic. That may still happen, but fortunately (or not, depending on your preference) some of that information is trickling out in other, semi-related stories.

FOX 5 in D.C., for example, took the opportunity at yesterday’s Harvest Feast to ask some of the players what their favorite Thanksgiving foods were.

For those who don’t want to watch: Read more »

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Redskins Hand Out Food At The Harvest Feast

Posted by Matt Terl on November 23, 2010 – 2:30 pm

If that’s a picture of Albert Haynesworth standing in front of a mountain of turkeys — and it is — then it must be the day of the Harris Teeter-Redskins Harvest Feast Presented By Ryan Homes. This is the third Harvest Feast I’ve attended (the eighth year it has been held), and it impresses me every single year: more than 3,500 turkeys are distributed to Prince George’s County residents in need by members of the Redskins and 400 corporate volunteers.

“It’s estimated that this will feed 21,000 Prince George’s County residents in need,” Tanya Snyder — wife of owner Daniel Snyder — explained.

It’s an enormous undertaking, and a huge stretch of the concourse at FedExField is broken down into stations for people to walk through and receive bags of dry goods, of kids food, of produce, and — at the end — a turkey.

Read more »

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