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‘Captain America’ On Redskins Nation

Posted by Brian Tinsman on September 29, 2011 – 6:27 pm

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Earlier today, the Redskins announced that Ryan Kerrigan has been awarded the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Month award.  I celebrated his journey to the Redskins (and you should too).

Kerrigan later sat down with Larry Michael on “Redskins Nation,” to discuss his transition to the pros.  Among the many things that’s changed for Kerrigan, is his Tarzan college hair.

For fans of the flowing locks, however, don’t expect them back any time soon–the tidy look is in.

“I think so, for now at least,” he said with a laugh.  “I’ve been thinking about growing it back, but it’s a long commitment to make, to get it back to where it was.  We’ll see.”

As far as the Captain America nickname?  That works–except that Captain America grew up playing with Ryan Kerrigan action figures:

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Chris Cooley, Offense’s Renaissance Man

Posted by Brian Tinsman on September 29, 2011 – 5:01 pm

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What do you do with two talented fullbacks out of training camp?  Find a way to keep them both, just in case.

What do you do when both get felled by injuries within 10 minutes of each other in practice?  Plug in your All-Pro tight end, Chris Cooley.

“I like playing fullback,” he said in the locker room this morning.  “Pretty much just about every part, except for lining up about 10 yards away from somebody, and both of us running straight at each other and smashing heads.”

Oh, is that not fun?

“But, that’s part of the game, and I’ll definitely do it,” he added with a smile, “but I’m not gonna say that I love it.”

When Cooley took a Grossman hand off up the middle for three yards in the first quarter, it was the first carry of his pro career.  Prior to that, his last rush came on Sept. 13, 2003, against Nebraska, as a member of the Utah State Aggies.

“It was pretty strange running the ball,” he said.  “It’s been a long time.  I mean, I ran the ball like twice in college.”

[Editor’s note: College stats: 4 rushes, 21 yards, TD]

“To be honest, my biggest concern was whether I was going to fumble the handoff or not,” he admitted.  “So after I got past that, I felt pretty good.”

One way for coaches to get the most out of their 53-man roster (and 46 gameday actives), is to find players willing and able to do multiple things. Read more »

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Behind Enemy Lines With Sam Bradford

Posted by Brian Tinsman on September 29, 2011 – 4:06 pm

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One of the biggest storylines at Redskins Park over the last two weeks, has been the offense’s struggle to finish drives with touchdowns.

Roughly 813 miles away, the same conversation has been happening at the Rams’ Russell Training Center in Missourri.

So far this season, the Rams offense is ranked 26th in the league in red zone percentage for touchdowns (33 percent).  This week, they meet a Redskins defense that has been stingy in the redzone (37.5 percent), ranked eighth in the league.

Rams quarterback Sam Bradford listed that as a concern that needs to be fixed, in order to succeed this season.

“In the first two games, it seemed like we really struggled once we got into the red zone or the fringe area,” he told the media yesterday.  “We got drives going and then just weren’t able to finish them with touchdowns. We settled for a lot of field goals in those games.”

Watching a talented Cowboy’s offense get stone-walled for six field goals can’t be comforting for the Rams 21st-ranked offense.

The Rams will try to avenge last week’s 37-7 defeat at the hands of the Ravens, by being aggressive out of the gate.

“Last game, we just really struggled to get going in the first half,” Bradford said.  “By the time that we put a drive together, I think it was halfway through the third quarter and we were already down 30 points.”

“We’ve got to do a better job of starting fast, and then when we do have the opportunity to score touchdowns, we’ve got to make sure that we do that, and not settle for field goals.”

In case you want to do some abbreviated scouting, check out the highlights (and lowlights) of the Rams-Ravens game: Read more »

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Stallworth Mum On Rams Game Plan

Posted by Brian Tinsman on September 29, 2011 – 2:14 pm

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A vast majority of all communication in the NFL happens behind closed doors.  Players and coaches are well-rehearsed in the fine art of saying enough without really saying anything of note.

It’s the unusual circumstances when, in a moment of weakness or bravado, a player actually shares a nugget of truth, directed at another team.  This is commonly referred to as “bulletin board material,” and that player is shunned to some degree behind closed doors.

Until I talked to receiver Donte Stallworth this morning, I wasn’t aware to what degree.

When asked if the offense was keying in on any Rams defender in particular, Stallworth responded (jokingly):

“I don’t know if I’ll give that information away,” he said with a big smile.  “I might get in trouble, fined, beat up…”

Personally speaking, I’m glad that corporal punishment isn’t used in the Web department.

And then, like any good player, Stallworth retreated into the fog of vague answers that players are required to give. Read more »

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Slick Footing Launches ‘Turfgate’ Scandal

Posted by Brian Tinsman on September 29, 2011 – 12:22 pm

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Any close loss is sure to produce some conspiracy theories, and Monday’s defeat has already produced two.

First we had ‘Snapgate,’ which can be chalked up to a barking spider infestation in Dallas.

Now we have ‘Turfgate,’ which is sure to explain why Redskins–and seemingly only Redskins players–were slipping on the turf field on Monday night.

It surely was not because the Cowboys play and practice on turf all the time and the Redskins play and practice on grass.  No, there had to be a more sinister reason, so the media turned to running back Tim Hightower for the inside scoop.

“Man, I hate talking about Monday,” Hightower started off.

Good thing I didn’t bring it up.

“I dunno.  I guess it was bad–I slipped a lot,” he said.  “I can’t speak for anybody else, but for whatever reason, I feel like I had a good warmup, but then, for whatever reason, I fell a couple of times during the game.”

When reminded by ESPN 980’s Chris Russell that he wasn’t the only Redskins player that slipped, he smiled and replied, “Well, that doesn’t make me feel any better.” Read more »

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Mr. Kerrigan Goes To Washington

Posted by Brian Tinsman on September 29, 2011 – 10:31 am

In honor of Ryan Kerrigan’s announcement as the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Month, we’ll take a trip down memory lane to see what brought Mr. Kerrigan to the district.

First, he was the long-haired defensive end at the NFL Combine, who didn’t seem to mind not being the flashiest Draft prospect.  He wasn’t heavily touted, but he was heavily scouted by the Redskins:

After a tremendous showing at the Combine, he started rising on NFL Draft boards, both mock and real.

Said Mel Kiper of Kerrigan: Read more »

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