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Most Valuable Redskin

Posted by Brian Tinsman on September 1, 2011 – 10:33 pm

The people have spoken: the offensive position in most need of clarity was quarterback.  Congratulations to those of you that selected other positions, but you were vastly outnumbered.

The defensive position in most need of clarity was cornerback by a slim margin.  Josh Wilson had a good night and is probably a favorite to start alongside DeAngelo Hall against the Giants.  The rest of the depth chart has yet to shake out.

Who was your top player tonight?

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Third Quarter Recap

Posted by Brian Tinsman on September 1, 2011 – 10:06 pm

The good news is that Redskins quarterback Matt Gutierrez completed his first three passes as a Redskin.  The bad news is that one of them was to a Buccaneers defensive back.  In the endzone.

On the ensuing Bucs drive,the Redskins defense bent but did not break, hunkering down in the redzone and holding them to a field goal.

Redskins rookie nose tackle Chris Neild has had a solid night for the Redskins, starting in place of Barry Cofield in the middle of the defensive line.  In typical nose tackle fashion, he hasn’t recorded any official stats, but has eaten up blockers to allow his linebackers to make plays.  He is part of a defensive group that has held the Bucs to 41 yards on 16 carries, for a 2.6 yards per carry average.

The other thing that’s impressive about Neild is his value in special teams,where he is a member of the group formerly known as ‘the wedge’ (before the league banned wedges).  He, and reserve offensive lineman Erik Cook are surprisingly light on their feet and frequently explode through the pack like rhinos at the end of a kickoff.

Not bad work from the guy taken second to last in the 2011 NFL Draft.

The third quarter expired on a play that will likely get extra emphasis during defensive film study this week.  Safety DeJon Gomes and safeties Davonte Shannon and Reggie Jones each failed to wrap up receiver Ed Gant.  After ping-ponging off tackles, he raced to the endzone for a 96-yard play.  The Redskins benefited from his unsportsmanlike entry into the endzone with good field position, but this was an unfortunate way to end a good defensive quarter.

Redskins still on top going into the final frame, 20-13.

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Second Quarter Musings

Posted by Brian Tinsman on September 1, 2011 – 9:12 pm

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The Redskins started the second quarter with a bang.

In an effort to get on with his touchdown celebration, Brandon Banks very nearly overlooked the most important part of the play: the touchdown.  Other than that, every other facet of his 95-yard punt return was perfect, especially the blocking that set up the play.  Banks was able to scamper right through a crease in the middle of the coverage and juke two players on his way to pay-dirt.

He also managed to hold possession of the ball for exactly 95 yards.

I can only imagine what special teams coordinator Danny Smith said to his underestimated returner after the play (although I imagine it was unbloggable).

Washington newcomer, cornerback Josh Wilson had his ‘Welcome to the Redskins’ moment tonight after a preseason riddled with injury.  Climbing the ladder on an overthrown pass,he picked it off and was one or two blocks away from running it back for another quick score.

Does anyone remember Ryan Torain?  The All-Torain Vehicle was out of the shop for the first time this preseason, and had some good vision,especially on draw plays when the blocking opened up some holes for him.  It’s hard to gauge his runs against any of the other backs considering who was blocking for him, but he looked to be running hard.

The fourth preseason game isn’t all for the rookies, and some reserve veteran players improved their stock in the first half as well:

  • Rob Jackson: 2 tackles, sack, forced fumble, pass defensed.
  • Logan Paulsen: 1 reception, 22 yards.
  • Kedric Golston: tackle, sack, 2 QB hits.
  • Keyaron Fox: 6 tackles, pass defensed.

If not for a 42-yard field goal at the end of the half, the Redskins would have completely throttled the Bucs in the first half.  Redskins are up, 17-3.

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First Quarter Thoughts

Posted by Brian Tinsman on September 1, 2011 – 8:24 pm

A pretty shaky start for the boys in Burgundy and Gold, as Brandon Banks was bottled up inside of the 20 on the opening kickoff.  Things got worse on the third play of the drive,when running back Evan Royster was dropped for a six yard loss and coughed up the football.

Turns out they just needed a mulligan.

It took the defense setting the tone with a goal line stand to wake up the offense–and the crowd.  On fourth-and-goal from the 1 yard line,the defense penetrated the backfield and turned Bucs running back Kregg Lumpkin into a pumpkin.

First down, Washington.

A rookie on offense that did a lot to help his cause in the first quarter was rookie receiver Niles Paul.  Getting the starting nod in place of a resting Jabar Gaffney, he was targeted twice and hauled in two passes for 27 yards.  He came in as a late-round pick in a crowded field at receiver.  No question, that in this game and throughout the preseason, he has shown the ability to be a go-to guy in the Redskins offense.

A rookie on defense that did a lot to help his cause in the first quarter was outside linebacker Markus White.  When fellow outside linebacker Rob Jackson rocked Bucs quarterback Rudy Carpenter for a sack and fumble, White alertly scooped it up and raced down the sidelines.  White was supposed to be a project pick, selected in the late rounds as a defensive end.  He has held his own throughout the preseason and really opened some eyes.

One intriguing rookie on defense is defensive back DeJon Gomes.  While he has shown the ability to play solid coverage as a safety and rush the passer, he also got flagged for a big penalty for a hit on a defenseless receiver.  Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett has singled Gomes out as a player in the past that he really likes, and the ability is apparent.  He just needs to play smart all the time.

The Redskins managed to shut out the opposing offenses in the first quarter the entire preseason.  For the first three games, it said a lot about the character and composition of the starting defense.  Tonight, it says a lot about the depth of resiliency in the whole defensive unit, especially on that goal line stand.

Redskins out to an early lead, 7-0.

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Last Minute Notes Before Kickoff

Posted by Brian Tinsman on September 1, 2011 – 7:26 pm

Game-time temperature is a beautiful 82 degrees with 72 percent relative humidity.  Winds are running south-southeast at 5 mph.

During warmup, Graham Gano did not miss a kick, including blasts from 55, 60, and 65 yards.  After his last boot, he got a round of applause from his special team-mates Sav Rocca and Nick Sundberg.  He proceeded to flex his muscles and run around with his hands in the air.

Here’s the blast from 60 yards:

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Tough Decisions Lie Ahead

Posted by Brian Tinsman on September 1, 2011 – 6:56 pm


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Tonight’s game is the last opportunity for players to make an impression on coaches before Saturday’s massive roster cuts.

I understand “the obvious answer” on offense, but if anyone would like to be original, I welcome you to defend yourself in the comments:

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Pregame Warm-up at FedExField

Posted by Brian Tinsman on September 1, 2011 – 5:42 pm

Gameday is here.

Strength and conditioning coach Ray Wright has already run his stadium steps (he does this every week in every city), Redskins cheerleaders have practiced, and some Redskins players have taken the field to warm up in T-shirts and shorts.

Here’s a look at the cheerleaders, sporting Burgundy outfits and yellow and white pom-poms:

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Mum’s The Word On QB Advantage

Posted by Brian Tinsman on September 1, 2011 – 3:00 pm

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Like a horse race with a photo-finish, tonight’s game will likely be a deciding factor in the Redskins quarterback competition.  Will it be Rex Grossman?  Will it be John Beck?

Will anyone tell us?

Here’s a recap of thoughts on the competition, just from this week:

Head coach Mike Shahanan:

“Everybody’s got different styles, and I think where most people make a comparison is that they’re looking at speed of a quarterback.  Y’know, John’s probably a little bit faster than Rex, and Rex has got probably a little more experience in the National Football League than John does.  But besides that, y’know, we ask quarterbacks to execute an offense, and everybody’s got their strengths, everybody’s got their weaknesses.”

“Like I’ve said before, I’ve got two guys that can play in the National Football League, and I’ve got a lot of confidence in both guys.  Whoever wins the job, I’ve got a lot of confidence in our quarterback situation.”

Offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan:

“I think it’s very close. We’ve only had three games and John didn’t get to play in one. They both have done a good job and had good numbers. When we review the tape, it’s pretty neck-and-neck.”

“I knew it was going to be tough. When we lost OTA’s and minicamps, unless one of them came out and played like we weren’t expecting, then it would have been easier. We were confident they both would do well. When you knew you only had three weeks to a month to do it, we knew it was going to go down to the wire.”

“I will say, it’s not an easy decision, they both are right there. They’re making it a tough decision. They both are doing a good job.  I think both of them are strong enough people mentally. I believe they are secure enough and expected this situation. I think both of them are doing a good job handling the pressure.”

Running back Tim Hightower: Read more »

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Haslett Looking To Eliminate Mistakes Against Tampa

Posted by Brian Tinsman on September 1, 2011 – 1:18 pm

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On several occasions last week in Baltimore, penalties by the defense on third down were responsible for keeping the Ravens offense on the field.  Given that Baltimore eventually came back for the late win, these are penalties that played a costly role in the game.

One of the offenders was rookie outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan, flagged for being offsides on a blitz.  Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett and linebackers coach Lou Spanos spent extra time working with him this week.

“That’s something Coach Spanos works on, with doing hard counts all day,” Haslett explained.  “We stress it on third downs. Y’know, as a young kid, that’s one of the things that hurt us the most last week, was Ryan jumping offside. It’s a good learning experience. I’d rather him do it in the preseason games than the regular season games.”

With that being said, Haslett said that it’s hard to be too critical of Kerrigan, whose aggressiveness has turned in two sacks in the last four quarters of play.

“He just has to learn that, and not just him–everybody,” Haslett said.  “We have to understand that people try to get in their third-and-workable situations. There are situations on third-and-nine or ten, where teams will try to hard-count you to get you in those situations.”

Check out the full video of Haslett’s final press conference before the game, below:

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‘NFL On FOX’ Gives Cleatus Robot A Makeover

Posted by Brian Tinsman on September 1, 2011 – 12:41 pm

Yesterday, “FOX Sports: NFL” released, via their Twitter handle (@NFLONFOX), that they are updating Cleatus Robot, the little mechanical-critter that runs around in the corner of your television screen during NFL games.

The Redskins are scheduled to play 13 of 16 games on FOX, so it’s worth a preview:

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