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Which Unit Deserves Your Game Ball?

Posted by Brian Tinsman on September 26, 2011 – 11:31 pm

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Alright Couch Potato Coach, it’s your weekly call for the game ball.  Since this game is too close to call at the 2 minute warning, you have to pick a unit, instead of a player, to win your respect.  Who do you have?

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Third Quarter Thoughts

Posted by Brian Tinsman on September 26, 2011 – 10:52 pm

Starting off the third quarter of the third NFL game, Redskins outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan checked off his latest career-first, with a forced fumble on Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo.  To recap his short career, in brief:

Week 1 Career Firsts: Start, tackle, pass defensed, interception, touchdown

Week 2 Career Firsts: Quarterback hit, Tackle for a loss, Sack

Week 3 Career Firsts: Forced fumble.

I don’t want to ruin Week 4 for you members of the blogosphere, but watch out for No. 91 on field goals.

After being shut out of receptions last week, tight end Chris Cooley has come through in a big way this week, snagging three passes for 37 yards, and doing it all in the blocking game.  On a particularly satisfying note, the house that Jerry Jones built bellows out “Coooooooley!” after every reception.  The Redskins faithful are making themselves be heard tonight.

Tim Hightower’s reception for a touchdown was the first of his career, and was the biggest lead by either team in game.  It’s been a tough night for the running game so far, but the Redskins are sticking with it, and Hightower has been dealing out punishment to Cowboys defenders.

Texas Rangers owner Nolan Ryan is in attendance tonight, and didn’t look particularly congenial on the jumbo-tron, following the Hightower touchdown.  Reserve offensive lineman Sean Locklear was also featured during the mandatory Kissing Cam segment, but neglected the invitation to kiss any of his teammates.

No one was disappointed.

Going into the final frame, the Redskins are in the driver’s seat, with the ball and a four-point lead.

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Second Quarter Pontifications

Posted by Brian Tinsman on September 26, 2011 – 10:21 pm

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This game has certainly lived up to the billing of a defensive struggle so far, with both team’s defenses digging trenches outside of their respective endzone.  Despite both offenses turning the ball over with terrific field position, the score has been limited to only a trio of field goals a piece.

The much-anticipated fire and ice safety combination of LaRon Landry and Oshiomogho Atogwe is yielding exciting results already.  With the skill set and measured-aggression that both players have, it allows either to play close to the line of scrimmage and run-stop or blitz the quarterback, while the other drops into coverage.  During the first quarter when Landry was shutting down Felix Jones in the running game, Atogwe was back in center field.  On the play where Landry crushed unsuspecting receiver Laurent Robinson, Atogwe was blitzing.

Versatility allows more creativity in the defensive play call.  Watch these two in the second half.  And for the rest of their time in Washington.

After combining for 172 yards on the ground last week, the Redskins have gotten both running backs Tim Hightower and Roy Helu involved in the game early this week.  Through 30 minutes, Hightower has 10 touches for 35 yards, while  Helu has four-for-fouteen.  Look for the Redskins to continue to get these playmakers involved in the offense.

Blocked field goal aside, the Redskins special teams have performed very well, individually and as a whole.  Here are some notes:

  • They account for all nine of the Redskins points
  • Sav Rocca’s first quarter punt, fair caught inside the 20, was his seventh such punt of the season, tying him for the league lead.
  • Graham Gano’s 50-yard field goal to finish out the first half was a career-long for him.  For his career, he is five-for-six against Dallas, including the blocked kick.
  • Brandon Banks has put the offense in reasonably good starting field position, with four returned for 54 yards.  The Cowboys will receive first in the second half.

Once again, the Redskins lead their opponent in every meaningful category.  Total net yards, 162 vs. 119.  Total plays, 35 vs. 26.  Penalties against, one vs. three.  Time of possession, 16:09 vs. 13:51.

The Redskins certainly missed some opportunities on offense and defense in the first half, but the various units have consistently bailed each other out.  This is another team effort for the Redskins, and we’ll see if they can capitalize better in the second half.

Redskins and Cowboys all knotted up at the midway point, 9-9.

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First Quarter Fast-Break

Posted by Brian Tinsman on September 26, 2011 – 9:27 pm

Welcome back, safety LaRon Landry, it’s been a long, lonely 10 months without you.

Landry got involved early tonight, combining to stop running back Felix Jones on the Cowboys first play from scrimmage.  He backed that up with a solo tackle on third play.  He talked all week about how excited he was to go out and hit something.  I think he just expressed that to Jones too, at least by way of body language.

On the second defensive campaign, he introduced himself to Cowboys receiver Kevin Ogletree.  Skip the name, skip the handshake, just move straight to hugs.  Reaching around from behind, Landry punched the ball out of Ogletree’s arm for the sixth forced fumble of his career.  Moments later, Josh Wilson emerged from the chaos with the sixth fumble recovery of his career.

Landry was listed as questionable on the latest injury report.  Wilson was listed as probable.  They’re probably causing questions on the Cowboys sidelines at the moment.

The dominant defense was coupled with some success on offense in the first frame as well.

The Redskins ran wild on the first drive of the game.  Brandon Banks ran it back 23 yards.  Hightower ran it to the left for four yards.  Chris Cooley ran it up the middle for three yards.  Then, when the drive ran out of steam, the Redskins ran out the kicker for a 46-yard field goal.

It was a historic drive for Redskins tight end/fullback/H-back/rock star Chris Cooley.  His rush up the middle was the first of his career, and came in the form of a fullback hand-off.  On the very next play, No. 47 was open over the middle, as he has been 422 other times in his career.  This catch moved him into sole-possession of 19th all-time for an NFL tight end, surpassing Jay Novacek.

How the respective teams utilize their respective tight ends, figures to be a storyline all night.  The Redskins have gone with three tight ends on multiple occasions, with Cooley lining up all over the field. On the other side of the ball, the Redskins have matched Cowboys tight end Jason Witten with the likes of Oshiomogho Atogwe and Kevin Barnes.  In 14 career games against the Redskins, Witten has 69 receptions for 785 yards and 4 touchdowns.  Stopping him goes a long way towards getting the Cowboys offense off the field.

The Redskins are ahead at the end of the first quarter for the first time all season, tacking on a Gano 27-yard chip shot for the 6-3 lead.

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Last Minute Tweets Before Gametime

Posted by Brian Tinsman on September 26, 2011 – 8:22 pm

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Players have shed their blackberries, raspberries, cranberries and iPods before the game, as per NFL rules.  Players are out in the far endzone warming up.

A familiar No. 30 has taken his usual spot, patrolling the middle of the Redskins secondary.  LaRon Landry is expected to start for the Burgundy and Gold tonight.

The team has huddled at mid-field, under a barrage of boos from the swelling Cowboys crowd.

Here are the last thoughts from the players, as kickoff approaches.

There are some rookies with a few pregame jitters:

Read more »

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Redskins Take The Field For Warm-Up

Posted by Brian Tinsman on September 26, 2011 – 7:50 pm

They say that pictures are worth a thousand words.  So this post counts for 19,000 words.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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Redskins-Cowboys Rap: Who Up Next?

Posted by Brian Tinsman on September 26, 2011 – 7:00 pm

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

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We Want Dallas!

Posted by Brian Tinsman on September 26, 2011 – 5:00 pm

We thank BNG and Robvandam72 for our weekly dose of adrenaline.

WARNING: If you’re still at the office, please do not watch this video.  It will cause you to rip off your tie, flip over your desk, and start chanting “We Want Dallas!”

Better yet, watch it anyway.  It’s Dallas Week!

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Chester Shuts Down Old Texas Stadium

Posted by Brian Tinsman on September 26, 2011 – 4:20 pm

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Washington fans are said to have two favorite teams: the Redskins, and whoever is playing the Cowboys.

On Saturday, Dec. 20, 2008, every proud citizen in Redskins Nation was a die-hard Baltimore Ravens fan.

On the league’s network, on Saturday Night Football, Jerry Jones was closing Texas Stadium in Irving, Texas, and hand-picked the Ravens as the team to be the last victim in stadium history.

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The the title banners hung high in the rafters, and more than 100 former players, including 12 members of the Ring of Honor were trotted out on the field. Emmitt Smith, Roger Staubach and Jerry Jones were among the speakers.

Among the Ravens ranks, was offensive guard (and now Redskins guard) Chris Chester.

“The atmosphere, it almost felt like a playoff game,” he remembered.  “It seemed like between every quarter, they were having some ceremony for retired players, retired numbers, and all these people that were famous were talking about the history. It definitely felt like a playoff atmosphere–it was that intense.”

No question it was a three-ring circus, befitting the closure of the Cowboys home.  But they forgot the bit about winning the football game.

Minor detail.

Trailing 0-7 after the first drive, Chester’s Ravens put the pedal to the metal and never looked back, turning out the lights on Texas Stadium with a convincing 33-24 victory.

The two plays that put the game away in the fourth quarter, were a 77-yard touchdown run by running back Willis McGahee, and an 82-yard run by fullback Le’Ron McClain.  Chester was part of a line that blew open huge holes on both runs.

Read more »

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Casserly On The Cowboys Strike Victory

Posted by Brian Tinsman on September 26, 2011 – 2:30 pm

Earlier this week, Casserly broke down the quarterback matchup for tonight, of Grossman vs. Romo/Kitna.

Earlier today, we heard his thoughts on the greatest clash in rivalry history, the 1982 NFC Championships and the birth of “We Want Dallas!”

Now, we move on to Casserly’s second greatest memory of the Redskins-Cowboys rivalry, an unheralded matchup, to say the least: the 1987 strike game in Dallas.

“This is an odd one, in a sense, when we beat them in a strike game,” Casserly said.  “They had their players cross the picket line. They had Dorsett, they had ‘Too Tall” Danny White was in there, Randy White, Smelleck, and we didn’t have anybody.”

Except for Shane “Footsteps” Falco.  Nobody had heard from him since that Sugar Bowl disaster.

For the record, I love “The Replacements,” and it goes down as one of the greatest football movies in my book.  I don’t care what your opinion of Keanu Reeves is, if that doesn’t inspire some Redskins pride, check your pulse.

But I digress…

“It’s Monday Night television, the strike is over the next day, and I know I’m thinking, ‘We ain’t got a chance in this thing, so this thing could get ugly,” Casserly remembered.  “Joe Gibbs gave a tremendous talk before the game to the kids–and again, you’ve got this on national television, everybody knows that it’s over. Not one of our kids had made an NFL team that year and his speech went to the theme of, ‘This is why you did this, and again, nobody is giving us a chance. Didn’t you come back here to prove you could play in the league? So what greater stage do you want. You want the Cowboys to have a bunch of their stars in there, and you want to do it in front of national television.'” Read more »

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