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Dexter Manley Sacks Big D

Posted by Brian Tinsman on September 23, 2011 – 5:25 pm

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Former Redskins defensive end Dexter Manley is Secretary of Defense in Redskins Nation, and is probably a bigger fan of the Burgundy and Gold than you or I could ever be.

In the past, he’s suggested that he would run over various members of his extended family for a win.  This time around, he told Mike Wise and Holden Kushner of “The Fan,” that he would risk his own life and limb:

This is sorta my stick, and I stick to it: I’d rather lose an arm than lose to the Cowboys.

How many of you can say that?

Manley offered his take of the fabled rivalry, saying:

I think the Redskins have got a legitimate shot at beating the Cowboys.  The last time they started out 2-0, was I dunno…probably in the 40’s or something…I think everyone should get behind the Redskins, and support the Burgundy and Gold.

For the record, it was 2007 when they were last 2-0, but it feels like the 1940s. Read more »

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Haslett Doesn’t Believe In Football Rhythm

Posted by Brian Tinsman on September 23, 2011 – 2:55 pm

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Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett’s defense has been opportunistic in critical moments, which has led to victories in the first two games.

But, while rhythm may benefit an offense on a drive, the reactionary role of a defense doesn’t really allow rhythm to occur.

“I’ll give you an ex-player’s perspective: I don’t know what a ‘rhythm’ is with calling plays,” he said.

I feel the same way about dancing.

“It’s a lot easier to call a game when you have better players,” he continued.  “It’s easy from that standpoint, but I think our guys have a better understanding what we’re doing right now and some of the new guys are picking it up.”

That may be the story of the season on defense, as the raw talent of the young defenders is honed into Haslett’s system on defense.

But going into Week 3, the Redskins must prepare for a Cowboys offense that’s rolling on all cylinders.  Haslett spoke highly of what they’ve been able to accomplish on tape:

“Obviously, the quarterback, it starts with him,” he said of the Cowboys.  “[Tony Romo’s] on fire right now. They have great skill-people and a heck of a running back. Their [offensive] line has a new young guy [Tyron Smith] who is really good and the other tackle, [Doug] Free, is really good. [Jason] Witten–obviously, we haven’t stopped him yet–so he’s another guy that we kind of have to slow down.”

Last year, the Redskins split the season series with Dallas, and the story of the defense was night and day.

“We played one game well last year and the second game we didn’t play as well,” Haslett said.  “It’s our challenge to get out there in that hostile environment and play well.”

That hostile environment always plays a big role in rivalry games.  The Redskins are counting on their young players on both sides of the ball to play well beyond their years on Monday Night.

Check out Haslett’s full presser after the jump: Read more »

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A Golden Day At Redskins Park

Posted by Brian Tinsman on September 23, 2011 – 1:40 pm

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No amount of rain could dampen spirits at Redskins Park today.

As the last business day before the latest installment of the Redskins-Cowboys rivalry (Monday will be a ghost town around here), all Redskins employees and interns are decked out in gold “Beat Dallas” spirit shirts.

Thanks to Redskins.com intern Chris Mudd for the shirt modelling, your future on the runway is a lock.

Casual Friday is always a nice change-up from the usual business attire, and there’s a buzz inside the office today.  As players were coming off the field, they were greeted with the customary front office personnel cheering them to victory:

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Technology Can Lead To Over-Thinking

Posted by Brian Tinsman on September 23, 2011 – 12:23 pm

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The NFL, like the rest of the business world, is now controlled by crazy spaceman technology.  Personnel transactions can be made from the palm of your hand.  Hi-def, X-mo, and freeze-frame technology allow coaches to relive every jarring hit with more clarity than they can from the sidelines.

But this nuanced approach is a ‘trick’ that even an ‘old dog’ like head coach Mike Shanahan has embraced.

“How people study is a lot different than 20-to-25 years ago,” he said.  “There’s no question about it. All of the different personnel-groups and all of the things you can do.  It’s interesting when you do look back. If you really sat down and looked at the video then and compared it now, you would almost just laugh with what you’re able to do now.”

Shanahan likened the process to an elaborate (and extremely violent) game of chess.  It’s the coaches’ job to move the pieces in the right way, to allow them to execute properly.

“What you want to do is take it out of the players’ hands,” he said.  “You still have to block and tackle and they have to know what they’re doing. There can’t be any second guessing. You have to be physical and you can’t take that out of the game.”

Occasionally, this leads to coaches thinking too many steps ahead and having a game plan that misses the mark.

“Sometimes you think too much and you game plan too much,” he said.  “You have to take it out of the players’ hands. I’ve done that before and I think every coach has. There is a fine line between letting your players play and giving them a game plan where they can be effective.”

For more Shanahan insight, check out the full video below: Read more »

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Casserly On ‘Skins-‘Boys QB Matchup

Posted by Brian Tinsman on September 23, 2011 – 11:49 am

I recently had the opportunity, along with Gary Fitzgerald of Redskins.com, to catch up with former Redskins general manager and CBS/NFL Network analyst Charley Casserly.

Casserly has made a name for himself as a keen evaluator of NFL talent for the last 24 years, and seemed like the perfect person to ask about the upcoming quarterback matchup in the Redskins-Cowboys game.

First he broke down the success that Grossman is having so far this season as the Redskins starter:

“I think the thing about Rex is it’s consistency, and he’s running the offense,” he explained. “What I mean by that, is he is going through the progressions on the reads. He’s getting to the second receiver and he gets to the third receiver.”

Casserly explained how consistency this season has allowed him to unlock his true potential.

“He always had enough throwing talent but he had too many lows along with too many highs,” he said.  “In other words there wasn’t as much consistency in there, so I see a more calmness about him. He understands the offense so he understands where the receivers are. He’s been accurate and I think he’s executing the offense without the negative plays he’s had at times in his career by forcing things and trying to do more than he needs to do.”

He also tweeted an explanation of Grossman’s rough start in last week’s game against the Cardinals:

Additionally, Casserly described where he thought Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo fit into the quarterback rankings, going into his ninth season in the league:

“Well I think he’s about in the middle, but I think he’s a winning quarterback,” he explained.  “I think he can take a team to the playoffs. I think he’s got the throwing talent as far as quickness of release, arm strength, that he can move around well, he can be an accurate passer.”

But Casserly also attributed Romo’s knack for bad-luck-mistakes to his struggles so far: Read more »

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Shanahans: Tipped Passes Not A Concern

Posted by Brian Tinsman on September 23, 2011 – 10:43 am

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Through the first two weeks of the season, Redskins quarterback Rex Grossman has gone 46-for-77 in passing attempts, good for 57 percent completion.

While some of those incompletions can be attributed to pressure, coverage, and route running, some have been a product of the passes being tipped at the line of scrimmage.  At only 6-1, is Grossman’s height a disadvantage?

Offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan doesn’t think so.

“I personally don’t believe that tipped balls have much to do with height,” he said.  “Even tall guys don’t really throw over people, they throw through windows.”

In the NFL, a defender only has so much time to get to the quarterback.  If it’s a quick release or good protection, the pressure will likely not reach home, which turns blitzers into coverage defender.

“I think the defensive line in that game got a little tired inside and weren’t rushing as hard,” Shanahan explained.  “They have some really tall players with long arms. Sometimes when they were up the field, Rex got up there in the pocket a lot. That’s when it’s tough and you’re throwing right through people.”

Head coach Mike Shanahan explained that this is a strategy that he anticipates on offense and coaches on defense as well.

“A lot of defensive linemen do it,” he said.  “We do it.  Most teams do if they can’t get any quick penetration.  Key the quarterback’s eyes, and the great ones are able to knock [the passes] down, sometimes knock them up in the air and possibly get an interception.”

That’s precisely what happened to outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan in Week 1 against the Giants.  After his initial rush was delayed and his blocker went low, he got his hands high and walked away with six points.

So what does that mean for Grossman’s approach?

“Anytime you throw the ball 40-something times a game, and you’ve got guys that are 6-8 or 6-9 on that defensive front, it happens quite often,” said head coach Shanahan.  ” It happened against the Giants too. You’ve got to find a little alley in there.”

Kyle Shanahan agreed, saying: “I don’t think he has that problem all of the time. They did a good job tipping our balls, but hopefully it will be better this week.”

Check out offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan’s full Cowboys preview press conference below: Read more »

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Dallas Redskins Fan Club To Host Rally

Posted by Brian Tinsman on September 23, 2011 – 10:10 am

Every time I hear of a Steelers bar in Baltimore, or a Bears bar in Minnesota, or a Dolphins bar in Boston, it amazes me how far a team’s fan club can stretch into hostile territory.

And then there’s the Burgundy and Gold Fan Club of Dallas.

This is a club of devoted Redskins fans that have remained loyal to Old DC, despite living in the shadow of Cowboys Stadium.  They’re both a fan club and a support group for other like-minded lovers of Redskins football.

In anticipation of the Monday Night Football game between the Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys, the Burgundy and Gold Fan Club of Dallas/Plano invites all Redskins’ fans to the ‘Redskins Rally’ at the Champps Americana restaurant in Irving, Texas on Sunday, Sept. 25 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. CT.

If you can make it, the location and address are:

Champps Americana

855 W. John Carpenter Fwy.

Irving, Texas 75039

I will be there blogging and tweeting the event live, so make sure that you tune into the Redskins blog and Twitter on Sunday night.

Get there early, because every Redskins fan will receive a free ‘Beat Dallas’ T-shirt, until they run out. Fans will get the opportunity to win prizes such as helmets autographed by Sonny Jurgensen and Sam Huff, as well as tickets to the Redskins’ Monday Night game at Cowboys Stadium.

I’m also told that some extra special guests could be in attendance.

The Burgundy and Gold Fan Club is the only Redskins fan club in Dallas. Visit them on Facebook, Meetup.com or at www.dallasredskins.com.

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Hail! Downplays Tight End Shenanigans

Posted by Brian Tinsman on September 23, 2011 – 9:00 am

Or are they Shanahanagans?

This week, Ben Ceccarelli’s Hail! comic addresses the hierarchy of tight ends (No. 47, Captain Chaos, orchestrates all fashion statements), as well as the new phenomenon at Redskins Park known as “Tight End Tights Wednesday“:

I guess you have to draw the line somewhere.

And in case you were wondering, “Tight End Tights Wednesday” has yet to “spread to the rest of the offense.”  Sorry Cooley, this might be just a tight end thing.

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