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A Quick Study In Contrasts, Via Mike Shanahan

Posted by Matt Terl on December 3, 2010 – 3:43 pm

Ryan Torain has looked pretty good in his limited action this season — 91 carries for 391 yards, a 4.3 average, and 3 touchdowns. It’s spread over six games, but Torain received more than 10 carries in just four of them. So it’s an above-average running back performance. That’s what you’d expect from Torain, because the knock on him wasn’t about his numbers.

No, the knock was on his ability to stay healthy, and — if the six games out of eleven didn’t tip you off — that knock has largely seemed accurate. Torain was limited in practice today, which actually represented an upgrade from not practicing the two days prior, but he’s still listed as questionable for this week’s game.

And it seems safe to say that this is getting frustrating for the coaching staff. Just for fun, here are three comments from head coach Mike Shanahan’s press conferences this week that I thought were somewhat revealing on this subject.
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Carlos Rogers And LaRon Landry Are Out For Sunday's Game

Posted by Matt Terl on December 3, 2010 – 1:39 pm

Friday is the day when at least some of the wait-and-see injury news becomes a bit more concrete; when that happened today, the Redskins defensive backfield got markedly less experienced, as head coach Mike Shanahan confirmed that Carlos Rogers and LaRon Landry will both be out of Sunday’s game with their respective injuries.

This means that second-year cornerback Kevin Barnes will be expected to contribute much more; defensive coordinator Jim Haslett has spent the last few weeks praising Barnes’ intelligence and and expressing an interest to see what Barnes could do with a full opportunity; Sunday he’ll likely get another chance to find out.

“This is the opportunity I’ve been waiting for,” Barnes said. Read more »

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DeAngelo Hall and Terrence Austin Wade Into The 'Who's Faster?' Fray

Posted by Matt Terl on December 3, 2010 – 11:31 am

As I mentioned earlier, a lot of people yesterday were discussing the relative speed of Brandon Banks and Anthony Armstrong, with special focus on who would win in a hypothetical race. These people included head coach Mike Shanahan, who equivocated, saying, “I really don’t know. They’re both pretty fast. It’d be pretty close. Both in that 4.4, 4.3 area. Pretty good shape. They both can run.”

DeAngelo Hall, always willing to address these kinds of questions, revealed himself as a Banks backer. “Banks, and it’s not close,” he said. “Armstrong doesn’t win that race.”

Terrence Austin — like Banks and Armstrong a wide receiver, and also like them both a graduate from the practice squad — wasn’t quite so certain. “That’s a good question,” Austin said. “I don’t know who’s the faster out of the two, but the difference-maker may be the distance: who can run faster in the 40, who can run faster in the 60.”

And Banks himself weighed in again, reiterating his claim that he’s the fastest while explaining why their 40 times at the Scouting Combine were relatively close. “I got injured during the combine,” Banks said. “I pulled my hamstring. I mean, I’m not making excuses; I still ran a 4.4 with an injured hamstring. I’m a 4.2 guy.”

He also gave the first hint that there might be an objective resolution to this conversation: “It’s gonna keep going til this offseason,” Banks said, “til we race this offseason.”

One of Armstrong’s main contentions is that, while Banks may be faster, he (Armstrong) is quicker. Austin added another layer to the drama on this one, though, by inserting himself into that debate — right at the top, in fact. “I’m quicker than both of them,” Austin said, “Not faster, but I think I’m quicker than both.”

This isn’t entirely surprising — it’s not an unusual claim — but what was surprising was DeAngelo Hall’s reaction to Austin’s assertion. Read more »

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Hail! Has A Strong Opinion On Who's The Fastest

Posted by Matt Terl on December 3, 2010 – 8:02 am

The debate between Anthony Armstrong and Brandon Banks as to which one of the speedsters is actually speedsterier moved to the next phase of its media life yesterday, as nearly everyone in the locker room — including the head coach — was asked to weigh in. I’ll have some of that posted shortly. But Hail! creator/writer/artist Ben Ceccarelli has some thoughts on the subject as well, which come through pretty clearly in this week’s comic strip.

As always, click the first panel or the Read More link to see the entire strip.

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