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Redskins-Cardinals Reflection

Posted by Brian Tinsman on September 18, 2011 – 6:19 pm

AP Image

After throttling the Giants last week, it would be easy for the Redskins to laugh at the Cardinals and look ahead to Dallas.  According to some of the veterans in the locker room, that’s what this team would’ve done in recent years.

And it would’ve cost them the game.  But this is not your Redskins of recent years.

This is team with some resolve, and it showed as time ticked down in the fourth quarter. With 1:39 left and a rack of timeouts, the Cardinals only needed to get into field goal range for the win.  On the first play of the drive, Kevin Kolb found his man over the middle in Cardinals receiver Chansi Stuckey.  Turning upfield, Stuckey picked up the first down.

But Redskins reserve corner Byron Westbrook was in the area, and keyed in on making the big play.  Securing the tackle, he ripped the ball out of Stuckey’s hands.  When safety Reed Doughty recovered the ball, it sealed the second victory for Washington in as many weeks.

The 76,330 fans roared in appreciation,before joining in a chorus of “We Want Dallas!”

The same sentiments of “this is a different team in 2011” were echoed in the locker room after the game, and there’s an unwavering conviction in the company line.  This isn’t a team that’s surprised by their success, and it’s not just the rookies or the veterans that are feeling the vibe.

The Cardinals gave this team a battle, and for the second week in a row, the Redskins had to find a way to win from behind.  But it never felt like the game was out of reach, and when they needed a big play, the team responded.

“It felt like we were still up, if that makes any sense,” linebacker Brian Orakpo said in the locker room.  “Because we shot ourselves in the foot.”

It was only a flesh wound.

This was a great game for running back Tim Hightower, because it was a grudge game for him, and he got his feet under him this week.  He gashed his former team for 106 all-purpose yards and showed that he can be a game-changer in Washington.

Meanwhile, Vonnie Holliday, the man he was traded for, managed only one tackle and one pass defensed in his return to Washington.  Nothing against Holliday, but the numbers don’t lie.

Hightower’s partner in crime, Roy Helu, also showed that he was capable of dominating off the bench.  He finished with 13 touches for 112 yards, and was voted your MVR(edskin) with 45 percent of the vote.  Keeping both backs healthy and having a battering ram in Ryan Torain for November and December should ensure the effectiveness of this unit for the season.

Next week, the Redskins take their show on the road to Dallas on “Monday Night Football.”  The Redskins have managed to fly under the radar so far, but when the lights come on in Big D, there will be no hiding from the national spotlight.  Rookies like Ryan Kerrigan and Roy Helu proved their worth today, but will need to step up again in hostile territory.  There’s no question that this team has a bright, bright future, but the team seems focused on the next team up.

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Who Is Your MVR(edskin)?

Posted by Brian Tinsman on September 18, 2011 – 4:01 pm

With two minutes left, this game is the Redskins to win.  Who got them to this point?

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Third Quarter Thoughts

Posted by Brian Tinsman on September 18, 2011 – 3:28 pm

The third quarter story was one of field position and defensive dominance, until the Cardinals offense broke through at the end of the quarter.

The Redskins defense actually had a good quarter before the drive, with linebacker London Fletcher snaring his 17th career interception.  But when the offense only gained 69 yards in the quarter, the defense bent and finally yielded a 90-yard drive for a Beanie Wells touchdown.

One thing that has kept the Redskins defense in the game, is big blunders and penalties committed by the Cardinals defense.  On the day, the Cardinals have committed nine penalties for 92 yards, but five of those penalties have led to Redskins first downs.  It’s not the number of penalties in this case that count, it’s when and where.

As the quarter ends, the Redskins are driving down the field.  This has been a well-matched game in the boxscore, but the Redskins are leading in every meaningful statistical category (time of possession, penalties, first downs, passing yards, rushing yards).  Something has to give here, as we enter the game’s final frame.

Cardinals ahead, 14-10, with 15:00 to play.

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Second Quarter Cogitations

Posted by Brian Tinsman on September 18, 2011 – 2:29 pm

AP Image

The Redskins offense runs on double-H batteries–a steady diet of Hightower and Helu.

So far in the first half, the Redskins have established the running game, with 19 attempts for 115 yards.  Roy Helu’s first reception came complete with a cut upfield, a hurdle, a stiff-arm and and burst for 33 yards.  With that catch, he became the game’s leading receiver for the Redskins.

Hightower has already rushed for more yards than last week, going 15 rushes for 83 yards, good for a 5.5 yards per carry average.  He has also broken off his first 20-yard run as a Redskin.  His much-maligned 2.9 yards per carry average from last week is in the rear-view mirror, and he’s showing that he’s more than a preseason sensation.

One particularly telling sign of the effectiveness of the Redskins offense through the first six quarters of football has been their ability to sustain long scoring drives.  This not only puts points on the board, but it also wears out the opposing defense and rests the Redskins defenders.  Late in the half, the Redskins had a six-play, 80-yard drive that took three minutes off the clock, and culminated with a Fred Davis touchdown in the back corner of the endzone.

The young guns are keying the Redskins success on both sides of the ball.  Hightower, Helu, and Davis have been consistent playmakers in the first half.  Kerrigan has continued to key on the ball, with one tackle, chasing the running back down from behind on the opposite side of the line, before finishing the half off with his first NFL sack.

The first half “Class Act Awards” go to Hightower and receiver Donte Stallworth.  Stallworth, who was inactive last week, broke up a fight that was about to start following Brandon Banks’s return.  After linebacker Paris Lenon was injured on a play, Hightower went over to where he was laying and offered his sympathy and encouragement.

That kind of stuff doesn’t show up on the stat sheet, but it matters in the end.

Redskins on top, 10-7.

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First Quarter Deductions

Posted by Brian Tinsman on September 18, 2011 – 1:43 pm

News flash: Tim Hightower cares about this game.

On the ninth play of the opening drive, Hightower embraced his role as a pass blocker a little too enthusiastically, and was the target of some extra curricular activities with Cardinals linebacker Paris Lenon after the play.

Hightower takes some cheap shots, Redskins take the first down.

Unfortunately the drive stalled after 70 yards, and an errant pass by Grossman near the goal line ended up going the other way.  Not the way the offense wanted to start.

The Redskins defense looks to have carried over the tenacious aggression from last week.  Linebacker London Fletcher has Cardinal’s quarterback Kevin Kolb moving around in the pocket and is forcing wild passes.  But just like against Eli Manning last week, if Kolb has a chance to step up in the pocket, he has a chance to make a play to his talented receivers.

After a great start to his season last week, Grossman has struggled early against the Cardinals secondary.  While his interception in the redzone was off the mark, his second pick was a product of an Anthony Armstrong tipped pass.  The Redskins have been aggressive throwing the ball in the first frame, but the stats don’t tell the full story.  Unfortunately, that pass should have fallen incomplete.

Tim Hightower has been fed the rock out of the gate again, and his blocking has picked up as the quarter progressed.  If there wasn’t bad blood before the game, there is after the fight.  This will be a developing storyline as the game goes on.

Redskins dominated time of possession in the first quarter, controlling the ball for almost 13 minutes, but don’t have anything to show for it.

Cardinals have the early advantage, 7-0.

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Redskins Players Pregame Chatter

Posted by Brian Tinsman on September 18, 2011 – 1:06 pm

The results were pretty well-spread, but you, the fans, have selected the Redskins air offense as the key unit for victory today.  We’ll soon see, as kickoff is moments away.

This is what players had to tweet this morning:


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NRG Solar Bowl Features Star-Power

Posted by Brian Tinsman on September 18, 2011 – 12:39 pm

As part of the unveiling of the brand new partnership with NRG Energy, the Redskins and NRG hosted the “NRG Solar Bowl,” before the game.  Quarterback superstars Joe Theismann, Joe Montana, Mark Rypien, and Doug Flutie were accompanied by NRG Energy CEO David Crane.

The quartet was available for comments before the festivities, and lots of photo opportunities.  They then showed off their own arms, and coached fans through the QB Challenge drills.

After near misses on his first two throws, Theismann said, “We could be here all day.”  He drilled his third throw.

After misses several throws, the double-Super-Bowl-blinged Mark Rypien made the excuse of: “Maybe I should take my rings off.”

Check out the action below:

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Chris Neild’s Pregame Plan For Success

Posted by Brian Tinsman on September 18, 2011 – 11:59 am

Stat line: two sacks, four tackles, and a forced fumble in only eight snaps.

When a rookie comes out and has a debut performance like nose tackle Chris Neild had last week, it conjures questions of how he prepared.

Over a season, that projects to 64 tackles, 32 sacks, and 16 forced fumbles.

Not bad for the newly dubbed “Pocono Punisher.”  So how did he do it?

“Sixty-four tackles?  Wow, that sounds good, man,” he said, shaking his head.  “I dunno, I mean, it’s tough to say.  Like I said before, I know my role, and I know the amount of reps that I’m gonna get, so I need to make the most of what I’ve got.”

As far as Week 1 is concerned, he couldn’t have done much more.  Neild attributed a lot of his success to the leadership around him.

“There’s leadership all around the board and it carries over to gameday,” he explained.  “Everyone’s here and they do their job, and that’s what you want in a locker room.  During practice, they’ll step it up and do the right things.  Y’know, us rookies, we looks up to that and we see what’s right, and we try and to duplicate it.”

Duplicating last week’s effectiveness would be ideal for Neild, although he said that his pro preparation is already different from college.

College prep: Read more »

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Redskins-Cardinals Rap: Hit ‘Em, Hard

Posted by Brian Tinsman on September 18, 2011 – 11:00 am

Courtesy of Black Boo, as heard on the WPGC 95.5 Big Tigger morning show:

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Every Day We Crushin’ Them

Posted by Brian Tinsman on September 18, 2011 – 9:27 am

Comedian Chris Paul, host of “Redskins Late Night” on NBC-4, put together his Week 2 jam for the Redskins-Cardinals matchup:

You can check out Chris Paul at 1:30 a.m. on Saturday nights/Sunday mornings, joined this week by Tim Hightower on NBC4.

Other Redskins shows coming up this weekend on NBC-4:

Saturday, 10-11 a.m. “Inside the Redskins” with Amanda Mitchell and DeAngelo Hall

Saturday, 7:30 p.m., “Mike Shanahan Coach’s Show”

And then the brand new pregame show on FOX-5, “Redskins GameTime” with Doc Walker.

Check out complete Redskins coverage here.

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