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Tuesday Roundup Of Radiophonic Redskins

Posted by Matt Terl on December 28, 2010 – 3:06 pm

If it’s Tuesday — and it is! — then it must be time to see what the various Redskins with paid radio gigs have to say about the team and their situations. It’s rare that the main attraction on Tuesday is the appearance on ESPN 980 of Donovan McNabb, who is notoriously cagey and inclined to give the political answer whenever he can; usually Clinton Portis and Chris Cooley are more closely followed.

But today marked McNabb’s first comment since his agent, Fletcher Smith, sent out a statement criticizing head coach Mike Shanahan and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, and since each Shanahan responded to that statement. So today, for once, McNabb gets top billing (even though what he said really didn’t amount to much, and didn’t really change the narrative on that particular plotline of the ongoing 2010 Redskins soap opera).

McNabb took a somewhat peculiar position with regard to Smith’s statement. It would seem to be fairly clear-cut: either the agent speaks for McNabb, or the agent is out of line. McNabb says that things aren’t that simple. “Let’s put it this way,” McNabb said. “I support my agent. I support my agent in all calls…. I discuss with my agent if he asks a question about what’s going on, or things of that nature. That’s something that we talk about. And, I guess, as you read in the article, he put his thoughts into the whole deal. Not Donovan’s thoughts.”

In fact, McNabb said, what upset him most about the entire incident was “the reaction to the whole deal,” to which he later added, “when I read the whole thing, I didn’t see nothing wrong with it.”

McNabb said that he wasn’t aware that the statement was being released before it came out, but reiterated his support for his agent after the fact.

In the end, this whole line of questioning just continues the he-said-he-said thing that this situation is becoming, now with the addition of the agent as another, apparently autonomous, he-said.

But there were a few other tidbits of note in McNabb’s appearance.

  • McNabb confirmed Kyle Shanahan’s account of a meeting between the two following the release of Smith’s statement. “We sat down and we discussed a lot of different things,” McNabb said. “Those are ones I’ll keep between Kyle and I. And I thought we got things out there on the table and we were able to move on.”
  • McNabb denied an ESPN report that he would ask for his release at the end of the season — “No, that’s false,” he said. He also specified that he hadn’t discussed the situation with owner Daniel Snyder or general manager Bruce Allen.
  • And he reiterated that he didn’t regret the trade that brought him here, didn’t regret teh contract extension, and again said that he’d like to be the QB in D.C. in 2011 — but this time he made clearer some of the things that would need to happen to make that possible. “Things would obviously have to change,” McNabb said. “You know, relationships have to better, conversations have to be better. But that’s something that you do over time. And it progresses over time. When we first started the season, we talked about it. It’s a progression, you know, how you’re building a relationship with each other. You bring in new guys and you’re building a relationship with the guys, and good things happen out on the field.”

So … yeah. Make of that what you will, I suppose.

Meanwhile, the news was a little brighter over in Clinton Portis Land. Read more »

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A New Year's Eve Masquerade With Redskins Players

Posted by Matt Terl on December 28, 2010 – 10:26 am

I’m far from the first one to post this video — Hogs Haven and the DC Sports Bog have already been there — but it’s still amusing, and with the event just a couple days away it’s worth mentioning again.

This is a promo for the Midnight Masquerade Ball in Tyson’s Corner, which promises to turn the Ritz Carlton “into a Venetian carnival featuring world-class entertainment, luxurious silent auction items, and of course a balloon drop” for New Year’s Eve. And it’s being hosted by an assortment of Redskins players, several of whom — including Reed Doughty, Kedric Golston, Lorenzo Alexander, and Chris Wilson — you can see in the video above. And I do recommend sticking with the video. It starts off slow but really picks up when Eye Of The Tiger kicks in at about 0:45 in.

The event benefits a couple of charities — one a foundation that helps children, the other an orphanage in Zimbabwe — and should also be a pretty entertaining time. And (for the moment, at least), tickets are available at a pretty substantial discount through a limited time deal at Living Social.

Also, while I’m discussing upcoming charity events, Lorenzo Alexander, and Kedric Golston, I should mention that registration is now open for the duo’s second annual Ride To Provide bike event. Register now — the event is just 145 days away! Read more »

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Mike Shanahan On Rex Grossman's Second Start

Posted by Matt Terl on December 27, 2010 – 3:51 pm

Mike Shanahan’s press conference this week was blissfully devoid of controversial material. If the Redskins season has been — as many have suggested — an ongoing soap opera, this was one of those episodes that only nods at the overaraching plots to acknowledge them but instead just fills some time before sweeps hit. And, in case there’s any doubt, I’m absolutely okay with that.

But he did say a couple of things that I found interesting. First, his comments on Rex Grossman‘s performance in his second start as in a Redskins uniform.

“I thought he played extremely well up until the interception,” Shanahan said. “And then he had an interception, he looked like he lost a little focus and missed some of the reads that he normally would make. And that’s why you try to put people in game situations, to see how they react. But up to that time, I thought he was playing very well. You’ve gotta know when to throw it away, when to take your chances. But some of the things that he normally does right, sometimes you lose a little focus after an INT and I thought that got to him a little bit.”

I’ve run the numbers on Grossman pre- and post-interception, and here’s what I’ve come up with: prior to the INT, he was 8-of-16 for 80 yards and a touchdown, for a QB rating of 85.4. Let’s let the interception stand on as its own play, as the midpoint where we’re drawing our line, rather than factoring it in to the post-interception stats (as, technically, an interception can’t come after itself).

In that case Grossman’s post-INT line is 11-of-23 for 102 yards and a 60.4 QB rating. The one sack that Grossman took also came after the INT, which squares with Shanahan’s observation about knowing when to throw the ball away.

I see two notable implications in this:

Read more »

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Anthony Armstrong, Beat Reporter

Posted by Matt Terl on December 27, 2010 – 10:01 am

Now that every day’s press conferences and media availabilities are posted online, Guy Nodding In Background is such a familiar sight that you mostly don’t notice him. Oh, sure, every so often you get somebody with a particularly goofy expression, but for the most part they’re just mobile wallpaper for Guy In Front Talking.

But in the jovial postgame locker room after the Redskins beat the Jaguars, Guy Nodding In Background turned out to also be Guy Who Started At Wide Receiver — apparently Anthony Armstrong decided to get some reps in on his journalistic future as he joined Larry Michael at Vonnie Holliday‘s postgame interview.

Armstrong’s trademark since joining the team has been a willingness to do whatever was asked at him, and he didn’t change anything up in this new role. When Michael threw him the opportunity to ask a question — “Do you have a question for Vonnie?” — Armstrong didn’t blanch or even hesitate.

“How does it feel to get a victory Monday?” he asked.

“It’s been a long time since we got a victory,” Holliday said, “so Victory Monday is welcomed by the Holliday family. I’ll let you know that.”

Not exactly hard-hitting attack journalism, but it wasn’t exactly a hard-hitting kind of locker room. I’m sure Armstrong is just saving that for the offseason.

You can see the video below; Armstrong appears as Guy Nodding In Background starting at about 10:52, and gets his chance to ask a question at 11:25. Read more »

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Time Change For Next Sunday's Redskins Home Finale

Posted by Matt Terl on December 26, 2010 – 10:15 pm

Scheduling note! Kickoff for next Sunday’s Redskins home finale against the Giants at FedExField has been moved to 4:15. Please adjust your schedules accordingly.

Dallas/Philadelphia and Chicago/Green Bay have also been moved to 4:15, so the candidates for the final NFC Wild Card playoff spot will all be playing at the same time.

On a personal level, I’m just relieved the game wasn’t flexed to 8:15 — that’ll be the NFC West Championship game between Seattle and St. Louis. I don’t think I could’ve handled ANOTHER primetime matchup against an NFC East foe; those haven’t gone so well lately.

Again: Redskins/Giants now kicks off at 4:15 on January 2, 2011, at FedExField. Hope to see you there. Read more »

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Redskins @ Jaguars – Final Reactions

Posted by Matt Terl on December 26, 2010 – 4:28 pm

Here’s one where I talk about how wrong I was. That’s always fun, right?

The Redskins were facing fourth and goal from the 1 with just over twelve minutes left in the game and the score tied at 10; after the third down incompletion, I expected Graham Gano and the field goal unit to trot onto the field to give the Redskins the lead. Instead, the offense stayed on the field.

At this point, I was sure — SURE — that this was the wrong decision. And Ryan Torain taking the handoff, leaping, and stretching the ball over the goalline didn’t convince me otherwise. Here’s what I tweeted at the time.

.bbpBox19127787562467330 {background:url(http://a1.twimg.com/profile_background_images/29409954/wrtwitter_redskinsblog.jpg) #4f1f26;padding:20px;} p.bbpTweet{background:#fff;padding:10px 12px 10px 12px;margin:0;min-height:48px;color:#000;font-size:18px !important;line-height:22px;-moz-border-radius:5px;-webkit-border-radius:5px} p.bbpTweet span.metadata{display:block;width:100%;clear:both;margin-top:8px;padding-top:12px;height:40px;border-top:1px solid #fff;border-top:1px solid #e6e6e6} p.bbpTweet span.metadata span.author{line-height:19px} p.bbpTweet span.metadata span.author img{float:left;margin:0 7px 0 0px;width:38px;height:38px} p.bbpTweet a:hover{text-decoration:underline}p.bbpTweet span.timestamp{font-size:12px;display:block}

That was a bizarre decision, regardless of the fact that it worked.less than a minute ago via TweetDeck

Which is as direct as it gets, I think. The defense had been playing fairly well, the Jaguars had been tripping themselves up, and a fairly sure three point lead seemed like a better bet than the risk of going for the touchdown. The folks following me on Twitter didn’t agree. Here’s a quick sampling of that disagreement: Read more »

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Redskins @ Jaguars – Third Quarter Reactions

Posted by Matt Terl on December 26, 2010 – 3:23 pm

Not a whole lot to like in that quarter, at least not up until the final drive. The Redskins have been leaning heavily on the pass all day, presumably trying to exploit the low-ranked Jaguars pass defense, but Ryan Torain seems to be finding yardage when he’s given the ball. The team didn’t convert a third down unitl the final drive of the quarter, although two Rex-Grossman-to-Santana-Moss passes changed that. And the Jaguars managed to tie the game on a drive where they recovered yet another of their own fumbles and converted third-and-15 right at DeAngelo Hall.

But here are a few things that have impressed me:

  • Torain’s 53 yards on 13 attempts. It’s just a 4.1 ypc average, but it’s looked more impressive than that.
  • Moss’s third down conversions, and his general performance — 4 for 77 yards.
  • Rob Jackson has looked very good for an unheralded player fresh from the practice squad: 2 tackles, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble, and some good speed and pursuit. He’s one guy that I’d like to see more from — and, hey, it’s nice to have someone from the 2008 draft class contributing today.
  • Actually, the whole makeshift defensive line has impressed me a bit. I’m not saying they’re superstars, but for an honest-to-goodness ragtag bunch of misfits, they’ve played remarkably well.

And, really, that’s about it. Phillip Buchanon has had some nice plays in coverage, I guess. But up until that final drive, there’s been a very desultory feel to this game. Hopefully the Redskins can keep the momentum going into the fourth quarter; they’re threatening, with the score tied at 10. Read more »

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Redskins @ Jaguars – Second Quarter Reactions

Posted by Matt Terl on December 26, 2010 – 2:34 pm

I absolutely hate when people blame the officials for something that’s gone wrong in the game. Given the speed of the game and the number of decisions they have to make, I think the refs get things right a remarkably high percentage of the time. And I also tend to disbelieve referee-related conspiracy theories, or suggestions that they have a rooting interest or some other motivation for the calls they make.

But, man oh man, did it seem like the officials majorly botched one call for sure and possibly a second at the end of the half.

The first was egregious and — from where I was sitting — inexplicable. Derek Cox intercepted a pass from Rex Grossman to Santana Moss in the end zone, but there seemed to be at least two major reasons that the play shouldn’t stand: Cox didn’t complete the catch, as Moss ripped the ball loose; and Cox’s second foot seemed to come down pretty firmly on the line, meaning that it wouldn’t have been a catch anyhow.

And yet, after the Redskins challenged the call, the officials went under the hood, though things through, and decided the call on the field stood. Via SBNation DC, here’s how Jerome Boger explained the review:

“After reviewing the play, the ruling on the field is confirmed. The defensive back stuck the catch while the left foot was still in the ground. Got the second foot in. The third step was out of bounds.”

That didn’t sound quite right to me. The Jacksonville pressbox TVs are small, so I asked people at home if it had looked any different on bigger HD sets. Here’s a quick sampling of the responses via Twitter: Read more »

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Redskins @ Jaguars – First Quarter Reactions

Posted by Matt Terl on December 26, 2010 – 1:40 pm

This has been one seriously weird game — weird enough that I keep listening for that noise from the Inception soundtrack to explain it. It started when we got to the stadium and it was 38 degrees, the coldest ever kickoff temperature at Everbank Field. Then there was the whole realization that Donovan McNabb was the third quarterback and that Kevin Barnes and Macho Harris were playing safety. Then there’s the fact that Chris Cooley — inadvertantly relegated to fourth quarter work the last couple of games — was targeted on the first throw of the game. But wait, there’s more:

  • Graham Gano hit a 48 field goal in swirling wind.
  • Carlos Rogers not only caught an interception, but managed to get solid return on it.
  • Not long afterward, Cooley flat out dropped a pass in the end zone. (Fred Davis scored on the next play.)
  • Rex Grossman continues to look like a decent quarterback, finishing the quarter 5-of-9 for 19 yards, 1 touchdown, no picks or fumbles.
  • On the defensive side of the ball, Adam Carriker got his first sack as a member of the Redskins AND drew a holding penalty, all on the same drive.

Oh, and the Redskins lead 10-0 after the Jaguars’ Pro Bowl caliber kicker missed his own 44 yard field goal. So, yeah, weird quarter of football all the way around.
Read more »

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Redskins @ Jaguars – Inactives

Posted by Matt Terl on December 26, 2010 – 11:49 am

The big surprise on the Redskins inactives list today is that Jammal Brown won’t be playing, and Stephon Heyer will be starting in his place.

And it’s somewhat surprising that Andre Carter will be starting in place of Brian Orakpo, not Rob Jackson as had been previously reported.

The fact that Kevin Barnes and Macho Harris will be starting at the two safety spots … that’s kind of bizarre, too.

But the weirdest thing — by far — is seeing Donovan McNabb listed as the emergency third quarterback. No matter what you think of the switch to Rex Grossman — and I’ve been in favor of it since it happened, to find out what he can do if for no other reason — seeing a player of McNabb’s caliber listed as QB3 is stunning. That means that John Beck is officially one tweaked ankle away from seeing his first action in a Redskins uniform.

All of that also means that safety Sha’reff Rashad and defensive linemen Joe Joseph, and Darrion Scott are all active and might see action today. This should be interesting.

For the Jaguars, meanwhile, Maurice Jones-Drew is inactive. In this freezing cold weather, expect to see a heavy dose of backup Rashad Jennings.

Here’s the full lists: Read more »

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