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Mother Nature Interferes With PM Practice

Posted by Brian Tinsman on August 1, 2011 – 6:00 pm

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The Redskins were cut short this afternoon after only about 15 minutes on the field.  Weather forecasts put the chance of rain at only about 25 percent, but what they really meant was 25 minutes of raining cats and dogs with accompanying lightning.

Same idea.

Unfortunately, this is valuable practice time that I’m sure coaches aren’t happy to lose.  Especially with free agents learning the playbook from the sidelines, this is lost time for both physical and mental reps.

Ironically, head coach Mike Shanahan answered questions on the topic of a proposed practice bubble being constructed for the team.  At about noon, he blew off the question.  By 4:30, I bet he wanted that bubble.

“I just know they are going to take care of business,” he said.  “We get some bad days where we have to game plan for it. To be honest with you, I have more problems than the bubble right now. I’m trying to concentrate on those other areas. We will have a plan to practice with inclement weather if the situation arises.”

Coach, I have a follow-up question now.

Many players hit the gym after they came off the field.  Check out the full video of Shanahan’s briefing below: Read more »

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Trent Williams Has Quite The Poker Face

Posted by Brian Tinsman on August 1, 2011 – 4:28 pm

Trent Williams is acting and looking the part of a franchise left tackle going into his second year on the team.  One person that returns to help him achieve that is teammates and long-time friend Jammal Brown.

Williams and Brown share an alma mater in Oklahoma (as well as new offensive guard Chris Chester).  While they never played on the same team, Brown was an active alum and mentor for Williams.

“Me and Jammal have been good friends since Oklahoma.  We didn’t play together, but he’s came back and mentored me.  I’ve kept in touch with him since the day we left Redskins Park.”

So if there was anyone who knew where Brown was going, it should be Williams, right?

“I knew he was coming back, I just didn’t want to tell anybody,” Trent said, his subtle sense of humor on full display.  “I wanted to hold my cards close to my chest.  I didn’t know what he wanted; he may have wanted some big welcoming return to surprise everybody.”

Thanks for holding out on us, Trent.  It’s good to have both of them back.  Check out the full video below: Read more »

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Specialists Have A Special Workout Plan

Posted by Brian Tinsman on August 1, 2011 – 3:38 pm

Kickers and punters get a bad rep in NFL circles because of the nature of their work.  More than any other position, their work is about precision, to the point where hitting them almost always leads to a penalty.

They don’t drag sleds, they don’t run routes, and they don’t have to pour over a playbook for hours.  But frequently–as they did for the Redskins last year–games come down to the ability, and the confidence, of these disrespected individuals.

But can you blame those that hate?  It seems like kicker Graham Gano and long snapper Nick Sundberg spend most of their time at practice doing something like this: Read more »

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Bookend Tackle Back In The Fold

Posted by Brian Tinsman on August 1, 2011 – 2:04 pm

The Redskins got their man.  Offensive tackle Jammal Brown is back with the team with a deal that various reports have suggested is for five years.

Paired with rookie left tackle Trent Williams last season, the two started off very slowly while Brown was recovering from injury.  As the season progressed, the duo stood out as a potentially formidable tandem for years to come.

This move also helps to build unity and cohesion on a unit by bringing back four out of the five starters from last season’s line.  While the line was a area in need of improvement, a healthy Brown and a developed Williams should make a big difference. Read more »

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A Redskins Seat Upgrade

Posted by Ross Leonhart on August 1, 2011 – 12:57 pm

Part of my job for Redskins training camp is interacting with the fans.  There always seems to be one that stands out, and today it was Ryan Vicente.

Vicente and I crossed paths without even knowing it at FedEx Field the other day when the stadium seats were sold to fans, with proceeds going to the Redskins Charitable Foundation.

But, Ryan had a problem with his seat, and used the blog to search for help.

“I am one of the many people who purchased stadium seats this morning at FedEx. When I got home and went to assemble the brackets, they do NOT fit!” Ryan cried out in the comment section.

He went on to explain in impressive chair-terminology exactly what was wrong with the chairs that swayed side to side and were unstable.

“What can I do, or who at Redskins PR, or Redskins Charitable Foundation do I need to contact to have this resolved?” Ryan eagerly asked.

Fast forward 10 days.  Walking around training camp I see a fan with a seat that’s loaded with signatures. He was one of the last fans at the field and I had to know the back story.

It wasn’t long until I recognized him from the blog.  He explained that after calling out for help, it came in the form of Lon Rosenberg, Vice President of operations at FedExField.

Vicente got a call from Rosenberg with a personal invitation to come out to FedEx to set things straight with the seats.  As per instruction, he called Rosenberg when he was close to the stadium, and expected a few interns to come down with some new brackets.

Instead, Ryan found Rosenberg walking down himself, carrying some very special seats out of his own personal office.

Row 21. Seats 1 and 2 (which Vicente said he plans to rearrange to 2 and 1, 21).

“I was like, Wow!” Ryan said. “I felt like a little kid!”

Vicente was momentarily distracted from our conversation as DeAngelo Hall walked by.  “D-HALL!” he bellowed.  “Oh he’s coming over dude, I think he’s coming over.  HE’S COMING OVER!”

“That’s the last one I needed,” he lowers his voice to tell me about his autographed seat.

Hall made the walk over to sign the seat with his full signature and title: “DeAngelo Hall: Pro Bowl MVP.”

Other signatures that he’s already collected include Joe Theismann, both Mike and Kyle Shanahan, John Beck, Brian Orakpo and Brandon Banks.

So, our story comes full circle, and Ryan is very appreciative.  “Lon Rosenberg: awesome guy. He went way above and beyond,” he said thankfully.

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By Merlin’s [Epic] Beard

Posted by Brian Tinsman on August 1, 2011 – 12:29 pm

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If Chris Neild were a wizard (more Gandalf than Dumbledore), his magical powers would be stuffing the opposition’s running game and growing facial hair.  In that order.

Neild came to the Redskins via the second-to-last overall pick in the draft, but this man is no Mr. Irrelevant.  Despite the additions of Barry Cofield and Stephen Bowen, Neild can play his way onto the team in a reserve role.

And he’s going to do it all with his signature beard.  A former version of his beard is pictured below, via twitter:

Read more »

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Redskins Ramp Up The Intensity On Day Three

Posted by Brian Tinsman on August 1, 2011 – 10:40 am

The Redskins have taken the field in practice shells (the “Diet” version of football pads) and shorts.  During 11-on-11, there was light contact, but more bumps and hugs than anything physical.

One notable difference is that drills and 11-on-11 is no longer jog pace, and players are getting a lot closer to game speed.  Receivers looked better in their routes (especially rookie Niles Paul, who has had a great practice), and we’ve seen some terrific 360-degree catches from Paul and Leonard Hankerson.

The cult storyline behind Hankerson in the draft is that he had monster hands.  His college coach called him Godzilla.  And there is no doubt: seeing him out on the field, he has noticeably huge gloved-hands.  But as a observation, I would say that he doesn’t have the “softest hands,” where the receiver is able to catch the ball and it seems to stick.  When the ball hits Hankerson’s hands, it makes a notable “thunk” noise, but his hands are so big that he secures it most of the time. Read more »

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Welcome Home, Tim Hightower

Posted by Brian Tinsman on August 1, 2011 – 8:35 am

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The Redskins haven’t signed the splashiest free agents or made the type of trades that shock and awe, but they continue to make savvy moves and get younger.  The weekend trade of defensive end Vonnie Holliday to the Cardinals in exchange for Tim Hightower in another move in a highly tactical offseason.

Hightower was born in Santa Ana, Calif., but grew up in Alexandria, Va., attending Episcopal High School.  After attending the University of Richmond, he was on the radar of many Redskins fans, who wanted him and join forces with Clinton Portis.  Now he’s on his way back to the East Coast.

Hightower has pretty much everything that you look for in a running back for any offense: ability to run outside or between the tackles, ability to catch out of the backfield, and a great threat in the redzone.  He also has playoff and Super Bowl experience, and only earned a ticket out of Arizona because of depth. Read more »

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Jim Haslett Previews The New-Look Defense

Posted by Brian Tinsman on August 1, 2011 – 7:48 am

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Happy Monday morning to everyone as we get set to open up the first full week of Redskins training camp.  As we approach Thursday–the magical day when everyone healthy is cleared to practice–the roster is going to start changing fast and furiously.

Part of that transition is defense.  In the last week, the Redskins have bolstered their line, solidified their secondary and gotten their rookies out on the field.  Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett finished up practice on Friday by chatting with the media about the new cast of characters on the Redskins defense.

At cornerback, Haslett sounded confident about the current cornerback situation.  With the play of Kevin Barnes at the end of 2010 and the addition of free agent Josh Wilson, he didn’t sound like he expected more moves: Read more »

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