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Mike Shanahan And A Fan With A Plan

Posted by Matt Terl on June 1, 2011 – 3:07 pm

Lauren Ainslie, a seventh-grader at Bull Run Middle School in Gainesville, says that she’s been a Redskins fan since she was in diapers. So when she was given an assignment to write a letter “to an organization that you care about, that you had an issue with, and come up with a solution,” (as she describes it), there was little doubt where her letter was headed.

Ainslie’s problem with the Redskins was straightforward: she believes that there’s a large population of Redskins fans who are rabid, engaged, and enthusiastic … but not the types to scream into the phone at sportstalk radio hosts. “My dad calls them ‘the unheard fans of the Redskins,'” Ainsley says.

So she concocted a plan to help those fans get their voices heard. “We should have a press conference,” Ainslie explained, “that would almost be like a form of speed dating [between] the coaches and the fans.” Ainslie is very seventh-grader when I speak to her, excited almost to the point of breathlessness with words tumbling over each other faster than she can get them out. It’s clear what she means, though: all the Redskins coaches and assistants in one room with a group of fans, each fan getting a brief preset time period to chat with a coach before rotating on.

Beyond that, Ainslie explains, “I incorporated NFL Play60 with it, so, like, the fans could be doing their interviewing and meeting with them, while the kids could be doing NFL Play60” outside on the practice fields.

It’s a solid idea on the face of it, made doubly so by Ainslie’s enthusiasm, and she poured all of that — enthusiasm and planning alike — into the letter for her assignment, sealed the envelope, and sent it off to general manager Bruce Allen at Redskins Park.

A lot of mail comes into Redskins Park, and Ainslie knows that. Which made it all the more surprising when a response arrived just two days later, especially one that opened like this: Read more »

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Chris Neild Explains His Nickname

Posted by Brian Tinsman on June 1, 2011 – 9:07 am

Redskins seventh-round draft choice nose tackle Chris Neild explained his nickname to Chris Russell on ESPN980. Someone — probably Enzo over at 980 — posted the interview in the newly revamped (and much friendlier) Audio Vault. Redskins.com intern Brian Tinsman listened and transcribed. I wrote this intro. And so the circle of 2011 offseason blogging life continues.

At 6-2 and nearly 300 pounds, Chris Neild can go by any nickname that he chooses. While I would have started off calling him “Sir” or “Mr. Neild,” he would much rather be called “Truck.”

The name kind of fits, when you look at his Twitter pic (@TruckNeild):

Neild recently caught up with Chris Russell of ESPN 980 to explain the interesting moniker.
Read more »

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