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Leonard Hankerson Taking It All In Stride

Posted by Brian Tinsman on August 16, 2011 – 6:20 pm

AP Image

Much of the hype surrounding Leonard Hankerson leading up to the draft was the enormous size of his hands.  The biggest hands in the draft?  He used them to break all of the records held by Andre Johnson and Michael Irvin?

Yes, please.

His pro debut on Friday was rather anti-climactic, however, as he ended the game with one reception on three targets, for eight yards.

But Hankerson shook all of that off today and said that he doesn’t feel any pressure going into Indianapolis.

“I don’t feel like I have to prove, I just have to go out there and make plays for the team,” he said.  “Do my job, know my assignment, and just go have fun.”

That’s comforting to hear from a guy that the Redskins clearly have a lot of faith in.  Most of the best players in the history of the game were just out there having fun.

Check out the full video recap below: Read more »

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Camp Is A Full-Contact Lesson For Roy Helu

Posted by Brian Tinsman on August 16, 2011 – 5:13 pm

AP Image

One of my favorite football cliches, is that ‘football is a game of adjustments.’

It’s not the fact that it’s over-used that makes me laugh, or the fact that it’s a rather obvious statement.  It’s the fact that whoever is answering the question, rarely articulates what the adjustment was.

Except for Redskins rookie running back, Roy Helu.

Helu put up gaudy numbers at Nebraska as a part of the fabled Huskers rushing attack.  Over the course of his college career, he averaged 5.9 yards per carry and rumbled for 28 touchdowns on the ground.

Friday night against the Steelers got off to a slightly slower start, as he averaged a modest 3.5 yards per carry.  Undaunted by the challenge, Helu has taken advantage of his week of practice to improve his game for Indianapolis.

“I saw that I have to practice faster,” he said of the Steelers swarming rush defense.  “That way I don’t have to pace myself with my legs going through the hole.”

Helu also recognized that running lanes don’t open up for the running back quite as well as they do in practice, which is something that must be adjusted as the game goes along.

“It’s different because the back side is getting cut off and we have different sieve plays, which brings the linebackers to stay in the middle,” he explained.  “So, it’s different, definitely, at game time.

One of the biggest influences on Helu so far during camp as been the presence of Tim Hightower in the lineup.  The veteran running back has not only performed well on the field, but has also taught the younger backs how to be a professional.

“I mean, I seek guidance from everyone.” Helu explained.  “But Tim is very vocal in his relationship with us.”

Building his speed and stamina for the pro game will allow him to carry a larger role in the offense moving forward.  However, he was sure to mention that his limited playing time on Friday night was all part of the game plan.

“We knew what roles we were gonna be given going into the game,” he assured me.  “My only game-plan is to compete every play and be disciplined in everything I do.  I try to do my best, and I know I failed at that, but there’s always room to improve.”

Certainly Friday night can look like failure when you’re used to cutting up Big 12 defenses.  But Helu has certainly shown flashes of brilliance already and has a lot more in store for the Redskins.


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James Davis, A.W.O.L.

Posted by Brian Tinsman on August 16, 2011 – 3:06 pm

AP Image

In perhaps the strangest scenario of training camp this year, Redskins running back James Davis has disappeared from camp.

Most recently listed as a fifth-string running back on the unofficial depth chart, James Davis did not report to training camp yesterday.  Head coach Mike Shanahan said that he didn’t know his whereabouts yesterday, and elaborated today:

“He left the squad,” he said.  “I heard he’s somewhere in Atlanta.  It used to be you’d have 130-to-140 guys in camp.  One time we had 145.  Guys would leave in the middle of the night.  That used to be the norm.  You’d wake up and two guys were gone.  Where did they go?”

Putting it in that context, Shanahan didn’t seem too concerned with the disappearing act. Read more »

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Wearing Fred Davis’s Pants

Posted by Brian Tinsman on August 16, 2011 – 2:06 pm

Kedran Davis

It didn’t take me long to realize, that anyone who is able and willing to take off work (or other responsibilities) to come to training camp, probably has a story to tell.  Usually it’s just a matter of identifying those that stick out the most.

One fan that I couldn’t help but notice, was this gentleman (pictured to the right).  He was in camp almost every day, but he wasn’t standing with anyone and he didn’t have much to say.  Good play or bad play, he just stood there watching, shifting his weight from one foot to the other, concentrating on the field.

Another thing that stuck out about this man is that he was wearing the team’s official practice shorts, distributed only to members of the team.  Stitched into the side panel of the shorts was a golden No. 83.

This, clearly, was no average fan.   Read more »

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Training Camp: That’s A Wrap

Posted by Brian Tinsman on August 16, 2011 – 12:54 pm

AP Image

Today was the final day of training camp for players and coaches.  Without question, the weather this morning was the best of training camp, with the temperature in the mid-70’s and a brisk breeze.

Here’s some quality footage of the quarterbacks refining their footwork in the pocket:

Read more »

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Fred vs. Cooley: A Brother’s Perspective

Posted by Brian Tinsman on August 16, 2011 – 8:33 am

AP Image

I don’t think anyone would wish for a contentious relationship between two of the best players on the Redskins, but it’s fair to wonder how Chris Cooley and Fred Davis interact behind closed doors.

For the inside scoop, I turned to people that understand these players the best: their younger brothers.  Kedran Davis and Tanner Cooley explained how, despite being in a competition for playing time, the two have become good friends.

“Y’know, Fred’s a really great guy,” Tanner Cooley said.  “He’s easy to get along with, he’s a great player, and I think he and Chris get along well.  I think if both of them can get on the field together that they do great things.”

Kedran Davis echoed the same sentiments, saying, “Everyone always tries to act like it’s Cooley versus Fred, but it’s not like that.  Those two hang out all the time, and they get along great.”

Part of what makes the pair successful is that they aren’t necessarily competing for the same position.  When Fred Davis was at USC, he started his career at wide receiver before moving to tight end.  When Chris Cooley was drafted into the pros, he played a lot of H-back before settling in at tight end.

That versatility allows the Redskins to get both on the field at the same time, in different roles.

“Y’know, he was just telling me the other day, “I feel like I could play both [receiver and tight end],'” Kedran said of Fred.  “He’s got the blocking skills and that’s good for tight end, but he’s also got good routes and can catch, so that’s good for receiver.  Anything to get on the field.”

Tanner agreed, adding, “Both of them can play a lot of positions on the field and it’s great that they get along so well.  Chris has always had a good relationship with the other tight ends here and Fred is no different.”

As both players settle into their second year in the system, each is expected to be a big part of the offensive success in Washington.

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