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Shanahan Pleased With Development Against Ravens

Posted by Brian Tinsman on August 26, 2011 – 4:47 pm

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The focus of the preseason usually has less to do with team results, and more to do with personnel development.  Lucky for the Redskins, the starters had the benefit of leaving the game with a lead, and head coach Mike Shanahan gave positive reviews of the personnel development.

On running back Tim Hightower:  “That’s what you’re looking for in a running back, a guy that can make plays.  He showed that in the last three games, to be able to go out there and carry the rock.”

“We felt like he was a three-down back.  You’re never really sure until they get in the game situations, but what I saw on film, I wasn’t really sure how well he could catch the ball if he didn’t see a lot.  But I felt like he had good hands, and he didn’t disappoint me at all.”

On free safety Oshiomogho Atogwe: “It was nice to get him some reps; he hasn’t been able to get any reps in our system.  It’s always nice to get one of our veteran players in a preseason game before the regular season starts.  I wasn’t really sure going into the game if he could play [tonight].  We evaluated him right before the game and he said he wanted to go, so that was a good sign.”

On wide receiver Terrence Austin: “Good.  I thought he played a good game.”

Shanahan gushed a little about offseason additions Atogwe and Hightower, who figure to be a pivotal part of the team going forward.  The fact that he didn’t elaborate on Austin doesn’t mean that he was any less impressed.  Austin did have a good game, for the second week in a row.

Check out the full video below: Read more »

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Anthony Armstrong Has Inspirational Shoes

Posted by Brian Tinsman on August 26, 2011 – 3:59 pm

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Anthony Armstrong finally had his breakout game of the preseason last night, coming alive with two catches for 51 yards, and throwing his hat in the ring for returner (one return, 31 yards).

Prior to last night, he had only four receptions for 41 yards.  He responded after the game with a tweet, expressing his excitement:

Read more »

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A Madden Preview With High Expectations

Posted by Brian Tinsman on August 26, 2011 – 2:15 pm

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With three solid preseason games under their shoulder pads, this is no time to predict season-long expectations.  This is a long season with a young and developing roster, so it’s difficult to project how they will look in September, much less December.

That’s what video game simulations are for.

Joe Fortenbaugh over at the National Football Post recently tested the latest iteration of the almighty EA Sports Madden franchise.  Among his many observations, one was his casual reference to the five season simulations:

Can Madden predict this year’s Super Bowl winner?

Here’s what this year’s results look like:

SIMULATION 1: Pittsburgh 28, Philadelphia 15
SIMULATION 2: Washington 23, Pittsburgh 20
SIMULATION 3: New Orleans 27, Indianapolis 17
SIMULATION 4: Philadelphia 21, New England 9
SIMULATION 5: Philadelphia 22, Pittsburgh 21

Read more »

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Donte Stallworth Knows How To Get Pumped

Posted by Brian Tinsman on August 26, 2011 – 1:26 pm

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With a group of quality receivers on this team, there aren’t many locks for roster spots.  But if it counts for anything, there are a few really quality guys, and Donte Stallworth is one of them.  He’s never shied away from any question in an interview, and I’ve never seen him turn down an opportunity to interact with his fans.

For the purposes of this blog, he also has a great sense of humor.  His Twitter description is:

Ninja, NFL WR, Ambidextrous Lefty, History & Politics Junkie, Californian, Truth Seeker, World Peace Advocate, Crab Legs, Mind Reader from Gliese 581c…WELCOME

Before yesterday’s contest, he tweeted a video of what he calls his pump-up pregame playlist: Read more »

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Players Have Mixed Reactions After Late Loss

Posted by Brian Tinsman on August 26, 2011 – 11:19 am

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The Ravens are one of the only teams in the league that has been to the playoffs in each of the last three season.  If I told you last year that the Redskins first-string offense and defense would play at that level last night, would you believe me?

Without a doubt, any analysis of last night must be made in the context of a preseason match-up.  For the first 30 minutes of football, it looked like a real game and felt like a real game, but the second half featured primarily roster-hopefuls.

Certainly, any time a team suffers a setback, the important thing is how they adjust in their preparation.  Head coach Mike Shanahan has not revealed how he will approach the fourth and final game this preseason, but it’s more likely that the results of last night will pay dividends in preparation for the regular season.

If tonight was the last dress rehearsal for the regular season, then it was a good cast and plot with  only a slight wardrobe malfunction during the final number.  Go back to wardrobe and get ready for the Giants.

Redskins players weren’t terribly excited to elaborate on their feelings in the locker room last night, but did share some thoughts on Twitter: Read more »

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Final Thoughts From Baltimore

Posted by Brian Tinsman on August 26, 2011 – 12:51 am

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Despite yielding the go-ahead touchdown with 22 seconds to go, tonight should not be viewed as the game that got away.  In fact, there’s a lot of good that can be taken away from tonight.

On Offense:

Tim Hightower is the unquestioned boss in the Redskins backfield.  He had a game-high 6.1 yards per carry, and in the preseason is pacing a cool 6.8 yards per carry.  He reeled off another big run tonight, and suggested in the locker room after the game that he’s only just now starting to get comfortable in the offense.  According to tonight’s poll, Tim Hightower received 31 percent of the vote and was your MVR(edskin).

John Beck and Rex Grossman each held their own in their opportunities to start, and did well splitting opportunities tonight.  Neither was given the opportunity to settle into a rhythm, and as a result, neither was spectacular, but both led the team on multiple scoring drives.  Based on results alone, there didn’t appear to be a winner in tonight’s audition.

For the second consecutive week, Terrence Austin played a major role in the game, and this time on offense.  The former seventh-round pick put up nearly identical numbers to Baltimore’s Anquan Boldin, and finished with 5 receptions for 71 yards and a touchdown.  He was only given one opportunity in the return game, but the team saw what he could do last week.

On Defense:

Despite the score inflation in the second half, there were still players that did well.  For the second consecutive week, DeJon Gomes had a big game, sharing a portion of the team-lead in tackles with Reggie Jones.  He looks to be a very productive late-round pick, and somebody that may be given the opportunity to develop.

Another defender with a good second half was Horatio B. Blades, who finished with five tackles and a forced fumble.  He expressed uncertainty on making the roster a couple days ago, but his efforts on defense and his reliable work on special teams is hard to ignore.

Oshiomogho Atogwe is worth a mention tonight, not because he had a huge game (two tackles), but because he was on the field.  This was his Redskins debut tonight, and gave Redskins Nation just a taste of what he can offer.

Special Teams:

The fabled kicking competition seems like an ancient memory at this point.  Graham Gano got his biggest test of the preseason tonight, and split the uprights on a 48-yard boot.  Sav Rocca seems to be rounding into form as a punter and holder, and showed off some Australian Thunder tonight.

The reason why the Redskins didn’t pull out the victory tonight comes back to a couple things that they’ve been doing right this preseason, that they didn’t do tonight.  They didn’t control the clock (25:06 against 34:54), and they had too many penalties (eight for 52 yards against five for 30 yards).  These are both areas that can be improved upon, and areas that will certainly be addressed.

It’s never good to lose, but this isn’t a bad time–or a bad way–to do it.

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