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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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Special Teams Still A Work In Progress

Posted by Brian Tinsman on September 28, 2011 – 7:16 pm

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The blocked field goal (painfully depicted above) from Monday night’s game, served as a reminder that a vastly improved special teams still has some work to do.

Already in 2010, kicker Graham Gano has kicked the longest field goal of his career (50 yards against Dallas), and punter Sav Rocca leads the league in punts downed inside the 20-yard line (9).

But the blocked kick on Monday night also could have been the deciding factor in a game the Redskins should have won.

“I came in yesterday and watched all the film,” said long snapper Nick Sundberg, “and I think it’s just one of those things.  The outcome didn’t turn out perfect like it usually does, and the outcome wasn’t in our favor.”

And that, ladies and gentlemen, might be the most politically correct answer ever told in an NFL locker room.

Clearly Sundberg didn’t want to put blame on a teammate for not executing the play perfectly, but replay showed that the error occurred on the hold.  Head coach Mike Shanahan confirmed that this afternoon.

“Basically, the snap was good and we just didn’t get it down and we just didn’t get it done,” Shanahan said.  “Those things do happen, and you can take a look at film, and it’s very easy to see. You just keep on practicing and get some more reps, and hopefully it won’t happen again.”

Sundberg echoed those sentiments hour earlier, but refused to put the blame squarely on Rocca as the holder. Read more »

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The Unflappable Rex Grossman

Posted by Brian Tinsman on September 28, 2011 – 5:59 pm

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There’s a theory in behavioral psychology that all stress is the product of internal pressure.  Perhaps in your case, it’s not your boss or spouse that stresses you out, but rather how you respond to their provocation.

Another example (conveniently chosen at random) would be Redskins quarterback Rex Grossman.  In his first three games, he’s done exceptionally well, reasonably well, and not well enough to win.

He was clearly unhappy with the results of Monday night’s game, but was cool and confident by Wednesday morning.

“The only pressure I feel, is the pressure that I put on myself to be a great quarterback, and lead our team to victory,” he told the media.  “That’s all I really worry about.  That’s what allows me to work hard and get better, and that’s the truth.”

Just in case you were questioning anything else he said, you can be sure that this part was true.

Yesterday and today were the first days for players to go back and look at tape of the game from the previous week.  Naturally, this process is always harder after a loss.

“I put a lot of pressure on myself to play at a Pro Bowl level every week, and when I don’t, y’know, it’s frustrating,” he said.  “I go back and watch the tape, be hard on myself, and fix the things that didn’t allow me to play as well as I can.”

Media-created controversies spring up any time a team suffers a setback, but Grossman has been around long enough to be impervious to the drama.

“That’s life in the NFL,” he said.  “Worrying about other things is a distraction.  Like I said before: the pressure I feel is the pressure that I put on myself to lead this team to victory.”

For more Rexisms, watch the video below: Read more »

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Atogwe Leads Defense Back To St. Louis

Posted by Brian Tinsman on September 28, 2011 – 5:14 pm

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Despite missing out on the opportunity for offseason workouts with his new teammates, Oshiomogho Atogwe has already grown into a force on defense and a leader in the secondary.

Head coach Mike Shanahan has been impressed with his level of preparation through the first three games.

“He’s a student of the game, he’s very smart.  He likes to play and he’s very accountable,” he said.  “He’s a team leader both on and off the field.  You like people that prepare themselves every week, and he’s one of those guys.”

Despite learning on the fly, Atogwe has been a capable free safety through the first three games and should improve as time goes one.

“He’s feeling better and he’s more familiar with our system and our terminology,” Shanahan said.  “The better he feels, the better he gets.”

Safety-mate LaRon Landry got his first start of the season on Monday, and was impressed with the degree of communication that the pair had already.

“Y’know, the chemistry was there,” he said.  “For the number of practices we’ve had together, we were able to go out there an communicate well.  We did okay.  The more repititions we get, the better we’re gonna get.”

Atogwe leads his secondary back to the gridiron that he used to patrol in St. Louis, this Sunday.  He understands that in order to beat the Rams, he and his teammates will need to be more consistent.

“You saw it in pieces on Monday night–when you finally have us all working together, it’s just gonna continue to be dominant force out there,” he explained.  “That’s what we envisioned at the beginning of the season, back in training camp.  And that’s what we’re gonna continue to work to put out on the field.”

For more of Atogwe’s comments, watch below: Read more »

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H.O.F. Announces 2012 Nominees

Posted by Brian Tinsman on September 28, 2011 – 3:51 pm

The NFL has announced the latest candidates for the next class of Canton-bound Pro Football Hall Of Famers.

Any player, coach, owner, or official is eligible for enshrinement after five years of retirement from the game.  This initial list of 103 candidates is officially called “The Final List of Preliminary Nominees.”

Sounds prestigious!

This year’s class of nominees has a distinctive Burgundy and Gold flair.  To make it more interesting, I turn the voting over to you to decide:

Read more »

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Landry Finally Gets To Express Himself

Posted by Brian Tinsman on September 28, 2011 – 3:12 pm

In the most violent collision of Monday night’s game, Redskins safety LaRon Landry finally got a chance to unload all of his frustrations of the past 10 months.

And while you were jumping around your living room, spilling beer and salsa on the carpet, I bet you never thought about it from the other perspective, did you?

As a matter of fact, Cowboys receiver Laurent Robinson has had a lot of up and downs over the last three weeks too:

UP: Signed by the Cowboys on Sept. 7.

DOWN: Released by the Cowboys on Sept. 13.

UP: Re-signed by the Cowboys on September 20.

DOWN: Trying to catch Tony Romo’s overthrown pass:

On a play where the Redskins overloaded the pressure in Romo’s face with outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan and safety Oshiomogho Atogwe, it appeared that Robinson was open.  Romo made the snap decision and lofted the ball to his receiver.

Landry read Romo’s eyes and broke for Robinson as soon as the pass was released.  Proving that legal hits can still be vicious, Landry punished Robinson for being open, and forced a fourth down.

All in a day’s work for Landry. Read more »

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The Myth Of The Snap Count Violation

Posted by Brian Tinsman on September 28, 2011 – 12:38 pm

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Of the many storylines that came out of the Monday night loss to the Cowboys, perhaps the strangest was the explanation for the botched shotgun exchanges between Cowboys center Phil Costa and Tony Romo.

ESPNDallas.com picked up the story, as proclaimed by Costa and Romo after the game, and suggested that former Cowboys defensive end Stephen Bowen was responsible for the early snaps.

“We’ve got to get the snap thing worked out,” Romo told the media after the game. “Costa said the D-line kept calling out the snap count. We’ll tell the league and see if that’s something that can be fixed because you’re not supposed to be able to do that.”

The next day on a radio show on ESPN 103.3 in Dallas, Costa backed down from the Bowen accusation, but attributed it to a nameless defensive players “barking out the snap count,” on the line.

“[Bowen] wasn’t really doing it, but whoever was doing the snap count or whatever,” he said.  “And y’know, we’re hearing the D-line barking a little bit, and either way, it’s on me.”

So was it an issue that “we’ll tell the league” about, or is it “either way, it’s on me?”  I’ve heard Bowen, and I’ve heard Romo, and they don’t sound anything alike.

Must be those pesky barking spiders on the field.

Sitting in the press box at a game, I’m about as far removed from the action as you are at home, so I can’t say for sure what happened on the field.  But given that these violations are something that officials are trained to look for, and assigned to look for, I had to approach these accusations with a degree of journalistic skepticism.

So I turned to Redskins defensive end Kedric Golston for clarity. Read more »

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Grossman: We Need To Finish Drives

Posted by Brian Tinsman on September 27, 2011 – 5:19 pm

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With the game on the line and trailing by two points inside of a minute, the Redskins drive stalled, as it had on several occasions last night.  While some members of the media questioned the playcall in the post-game press conference, Redskins quarterback Rex Grossman defended the offensive scheme.

“Our offense is based on some passing that, in the West Coast-type of plays that we were running–y’know, long hand-offs, screens–those are passes, but they’re pretty much runs,” he explained.  “So your stats might be a little skewed as far as that’s concerned.  I dunno, you’ve got to look at it from a play-callers perspective.”

As far as one-for-three in the redzone, including one-of-two in goal-to-go situations, Grossman made no bones about his irritation with the field goals.

“I don’t know if you want me to go on and on about it,” he began.

Please do go on and on, Rex.

“We need to finish those drives and not kick field goals,” he said with emphatic arm motions.  “We’ll work on it.  We were good the first game, the second game it was closer than it needed to be for that reason, and obviously we lost because of that this week.  We’re obviously moving the ball well, and we need to finish those drives, and maybe we can put a team away earlier.”

For all of Grossman’s post-game comments and emphatic arm motions, check out the video below: Read more »

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